International NGOs and Bureaucratic Capacity: Facilitating or Destroying?
with Matthew DiGiuseppe and Amanda Murdie
Abstract: Do international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) facilitate or destroy the bureaucratic capacity of the states in which they operate? The literature is split on this question. Some scholars argue that INGOs weaken state capacity by delivering social services that the government is supposed to provide. Others argue that by increasing a country’s domestic demand for improved human rights, INGOs improve a government’s capacity to fulfill them. In this paper, we show that the effect of INGOs on state capacity depends upon whether a state is democratic or non-democratic. In our cross-sectional time-series analysis, we find that INGO presence has a significant positive relationship with state capacity in democracies, but no relationship with state capacity in non-democratic states. These findings help to explain the inconsistent claims in the exiting INGO literature and are also relevant for INGOs and the policymakers that support them.