This Briefing Paper examines the strengthening links between aid and political reform. It explores the precedents for attaching political conditions to aid, the nature of the 'new' conditionality, and problems of applying this type of conditionality in practice. The linking of aid to political reform has assumed increasing importance with the trend towards democratisation in Eastern Europe and many parts of the developing world. The link seems strongest in sub-Saharan Africa where most donors share the view that democratisation is conducive to improved economic performance. Political conditionality relates aid provision to actions ranging from improved human rights performance to constitutional change.