Determining the Effectiveness of Conditionalities for International Development by Analyzing DR-CAFTA and the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle
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This study observes the irregular patterns of the migration crisis from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras in the Northern Triangle. The exodus stemmed from years of chronic violence, vast inequality, environmental degradation, poor infrastructure, corruption, and public health issues in the region. The United States government has worked with the Northern Triangle countries to improve the overall welfare through trade agreements and aid programs such as the Central American Free Trade Agreement Dominican Republic (DR-CAFTA) and the Alliance for Prosperity. United States aid and collaboration with the Northern Triangle region dates back to the early twentieth century, and yet the region is still in crisis. A common tool used to ensure success of trade agreements and aid packages between developed and underdeveloped is conditionalities. For the purpose of this thesis, conditionalities are defined as the conditions tied to trade agreements, provisional loans, debt relief, or foreign aid, to a sovereign government.
Conditionalities have been used over the past century in the Northern Triangle in programs such as the Alliance for Progress in 1961. The continuation of poor development, despite past decades of United States involvement in the region, calls to question if conditionalities are a functional tool for sustainable growth. The objective of this thesis is to determine the effectiveness of conditionalities through analyzing the success of DR-CAFTA and the Alliance for Prosperity. I do this by using qualitative methodology through a thematic analysis of primary and secondary sources to interpret possible trends and meanings of the data presented.
Based on the data in this thesis, such as immigration consistently increasing the years following the passage of the DR-CAFTA and the Alliance for Prosperity, I conclude that conditionalities were not an effective method for accomplishing the advertised goals to improve Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.