Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Political Science

First Advisor

Avery Goldstein


Why are some development finance packages issued on stricter terms than others? I investigate this question for the important case of China using a mix of quantitative methods and case studies. Chinese organizations use a wide variety of financial arrangements including grants, zero-interest loans, freelance contracting, equity investment, tied loans, and resource-backed loans. In the event that loans are not repaid, China then turns to a secondary set of options including debt forgiveness; debt restructuring or deferment; debt-equity swaps; and non-renegotiation. Many of these tools have not been treated in depth by the literature to date. I address this gap by sorting them into a hierarchy of strictness, finding that Chinese diplomatic and geostrategic motivations are associated with laxer terms, but that Chinese commercial interests are associated with stricter ones. I further find that geostrategic and commercial interests become associated with progressively stricter terms as political risk increases. These findings expand existing theories of development finance to better fit a major actor which puts greater emphasis on commercial interests in its development finance policy and uses very different modalities of domestic governance and external engagement.

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