Public Opinion and Foreign Aid: A Review Essay


Milner, Helen V., and Dustin Tingley. 2013. “Public Opinion and Foreign Aid: A Review Essay”. International Interactions 39 (3) : 389-401.
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Date Published:

29 Apr, 2013


The study of public opinion and foreign policy has a long history (Almond 1950 Converse 1964; Lippmann 1955). This history includes a long-standing debate over the utility of studying public opinion when considering international affairs (Holsti 1992; Mueller 1971; Page and Shapiro 1983, 1992, Wittkopf 1986). The dismissal of the importance of public opinion stems from the concern that the mass public knows little about foreign policy. Prominent theories about foreign policy and international relations give no role to publics (Krasner 1978; Mearsheimer 2001; Waltz 1979). Very few theoretical perspectives in international relations give any weight to public attitudes; neorealism, neoliberalism, and institutionalism provide very little space for the mass public to affect foreign policy.

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