Buying influence? Rotating leadership in ASEAN and allocation of Chinese foreign aid

Taegyun Lim, Sung Eun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


China has expanded its economic footprint in Southeast Asian countries by providing a growing amount of development finance to the region. We examine the allocation of Chinese foreign aid toward Southeast Asian countries exploiting the exogenous variation of rotating leadership within Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN). As the ASEAN Chair possesses the agenda-setting power and represents the organization, China strategically allocates more development aid to the ASEAN Chair to augment its influence in the region. Our analysis of Chinese aid allocation between 2000 and 2017 finds that taking the leadership position at ASEAN appears to be significantly associated with an increase of official development aid flows from China, while other commercial flows are only weakly associated with the leadership position. Our findings underscore the importance of considering the regional context in examining foreign aid allocation and show that a donor can target a regional organization to exert its political influence in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-377
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Relations of the Asia-Pacific
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press in association with the Japan Association of International Relations; All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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