Assessing the Impact of NGOs on Intergovernmental Organizations: The Case of the Bretton Woods Institutions
International Political Science Review 32(3), 2011; 323-44
22 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2014
Date Written: August 2011
The response of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) to the pressure of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is undertheorized. Scholarship on NGOs around IGOs is frequently idiosyncratic and laudatory, and we lack cumulation for cross-IGO generalizations about NGO impact within the frame of established international relations (IR) theory. From the central three IR paradigms (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) I elaborate a null and three alternative hypotheses to explain why an IGO would respond to NGO pressures. I benchmark these hypotheses to empirical indicators of NGO impact on IGOs. I then ‘test drive’ this framework against the highly relevant, easily cross-comparable Bretton Woods Institutions. I find that the World Bank responds functionally to NGO pressure: NGO outreach serves its mission efficiency. The International Monetary Fund responds defensively: NGOs are an organizational threat to be managed.
Keywords: International Monetary Fund, World Bank, international organization, nongovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, international relations theory
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