Marketing Democracy: The Political Economy of Democracy Aid in the Middle East

Tuesday, April 19, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Online via Zoom

  • Erin A. Snider
Marketing Democracy book talk

Erin A. Snider joins ARD to discuss her recently released book, Marketing Democracy: The Political Economy of Democracy Aid in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

For nearly two decades, the United States devoted more than $2 billion towards democracy promotion in the Middle East with seemingly little impact. To understand the limited impact of this aid and the decision of authoritarian regimes to allow democracy programs whose ultimate aim is to challenge the power of such regimes, Marketing Democracy examines the construction and practice of democracy aid in Washington DC and in Egypt and Morocco, two of the highest recipients of US democracy aid in the region.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork, novel new data on the professional histories of democracy promoters, archival research and recently declassified government documents, Erin A. Snider focuses on the voices and practices of those engaged in democracy work over the last three decades to offer a new framework for understanding the political economy of democracy aid. Her research shows how democracy aid can work to strengthen rather than challenge authoritarian regimes. Marketing Democracy fundamentally challenges scholars to rethink how we study democracy aid and how the ideas of democracy that underlie democracy programs come to reflect the views of donors and recipient regimes rather than indigenous demand. 


Erin A. Snider
Erin A. Snider is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service. Her research and teaching focus on the political economy of aid, democracy, and development in the Middle East. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, a Fulbright scholar in Egypt, a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and a Carnegie Fellow with the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her first book, Marketing Democracy: The Political Economy of Democracy Aid in the Middle East was published with Cambridge University Press. Other research has been published in International Studies Quarterly, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Middle East Policy, among other outlets. She holds a PhD in politics from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

This event is co-sponsored by the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and the Center for African Studies at Stanford University.​