Donor and Non-State Actor Service Provision and Legitimating Beliefs in Sub-Saharan Africa

46 Pages Posted: 29 May 2011

See all articles by Audrey E. Sacks

Audrey E. Sacks

University of Washington - Sociology; World Bank Institute

Date Written: May 28, 2011


This paper addresses the conditions under which donor and non-state actor provision of services is likely to undermine or strengthen citizens' legitimating beliefs. On the one hand, citizens may be less likely to support their government with quasi-voluntary compliance when they credit non-state actors or donors for service provision. On the other hand, the provision of goods and services by donors and non-state actors might strengthen citizens' confidence in their government and their willingness to defer to governmental laws and regulations if citizens believe that their government is essential to leveraging and managing donor and non-state actor resources. I assess these competing hypotheses using multi-level analyses of Afrobarometer survey data. The sample, drawn from a continuum of developing societies in Africa, allows us to analyze associations between donor and non-state actor service provision and the sense of obligation to comply with the tax authorities, the police and courts, my indicators for legitimating beliefs. Findings yield support for the hypothesis that the provision of services by donors and non-state actors is strengthening, rather than undermining, the relationship between citizens and the state. These results cast doubt on assumptions in the literature on fiscal sociology and the resource curse that the provision of services by non-state actors is likely to undermine rather than strengthen citizen/state relationships.

Keywords: Legitimacy, foreign aid, non-state actor service provision, donors, Africa

Suggested Citation

Sacks, Audrey E., Donor and Non-State Actor Service Provision and Legitimating Beliefs in Sub-Saharan Africa (May 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Audrey E. Sacks (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Sociology ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

World Bank Institute ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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