Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Document Type



This thesis examines how public support for bilateral foreign aid in democratic donor countries, namely the United States and South Korea, is influenced by various methods of policy framing. Despite the benefits of bilateral aid to both donor and recipient countries, public support for distributing it has been on the decline due to fears that aid is ineffective. However, this trend may also be the product of the publics’ perceptions of where aid is going and for what purpose. To determine the effects of type of aid and perceptions of recipient countries on support for foreign aid, I conducted a public opinion survey distributed by Amazon mTurk with 1035 respondents in the United States in June 2020. To further examine if the U.S. public prefers different types of aid to be distributed to certain types of countries or regimes, I conducted another public opinion survey in July 2021 distributed by Qualtrics with 625 respondents being obtained through quota sampling. Finally, to examine the effect of policy information, in this case on support for aid to North Korea, I conducted a public opinion survey in South Korea in September 2020 distributed by Macromill Embrain with 1200 respondents. A comparison of these findings suggests that public support for aid among democratic donor countries is sensitive to policy framing, although the efficacy of certain framing methods may be highly dependent upon the social and political context in which aid is being considered.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Timothy Rich, Ph.D.


International Relations | Other Political Science | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration