My friend Michael Fullilove argues in The Australian that the PM is doing the right thing in seeking a UN Security Council seat. He point out that the cost of a campaign is likely to be around $35 million. This figure caught my eye, since it suggests that campaign costs are now approximately in line with the benefits that a developing country can expect to gain from a Security Council seat.
Benefits, you ask? From a 2006 JPE paper:
How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations
Ilyana Kuziemko and Eric Werker
Ten of the 15 seats on the U.N. Security Council are held by rotating members serving two-year terms. We find that a country’s U.S. aid increases by 59 percent and its U.N. aid by 8 percent when it rotates onto the council. This effect increases during years in which key diplomatic events take place (when members’ votes should be especially valuable), and the timing of the effect closely tracks a country’s election to, and exit from, the council. Finally, the U.N. results appear to be driven by UNICEF, an organization over which the United States has historically exerted great control.
On average, the typical developing country serving on the council can anticipate an additional $16 million from the United States and $1 million from the United Nations. During important years, these numbers rise to $45 million from the United States and $8 million from the United Nations.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), the study did not find any direct pecuniary benefits for developed countries of serving on the Security Council.