Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy
Book talk by Dr. Sophal Ear, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
Tuesday, November 19, 20133:15 PM - 4:45 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
International intervention liberated Cambodia from pariah state status in the early 1990s and laid the foundations for more peaceful, representative rule. Yet the country’s social indicators and the integrity of its political institutions declined rapidly within a few short years, while inequality grew dramatically. International intervention and foreign aid resulted in higher maternal (and possibly infant and child) mortality rates and unprecedented corruption by the mid-2000s.
In his new book, Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013), Dr. Ear argues that the more aid dependent a country, the more distorted its incentives to develop sustainably. Contrasting Cambodia’s clothing sector, with its rice and livestock sectors and internal handling of the avian flu epidemic, the international community’s role in preventing Cambodia from owning its national development is detailed. A postconflict state unable to refuse aid, Cambodia is rife with trial-and-error donor experiments and their unintended consequences, such as bad governance and poor domestic and tax revenue performance—a major factor curbing sustainable, nationally-owned growth. Dr. Ear will discuss these factors and others in the context of Cambodia's recent July election and its implications for the country.
Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School where he teaches courses on political economy and post-conflict reconstruction. He is a TED Fellow (2009), Fulbright Specialist (Chulalongkorn University, 2010), Council on Foreign Relations Term Member (2011), Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (2011), a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar (2012), and an Independent Trustee of the Nathan Cummings Foundation (2012). Dr. Ear also serves as Vice-Chair of Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program, a non-profit that builds laboratory capacity in the developing world. He advises the Master of Development Studies Program at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and serves on the Boards of the Journal of International Relations and Development (Palgrave), the International Public Management Journal (Taylor & Francis) and Journal of South-East Asian American Education & Advancement (University of Texas). Aside from authoring Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy, he is the co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013). Previously, he worked for the World Bank and the United Nations. A graduate of Princeton, and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.
Cost : Free and open to the public.
Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies