The Backlash against U.S. Smart Power? Restricting Foreign Aid to Domestic NGOs

1 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014

See all articles by Kendra Dupuy

Kendra Dupuy

University of Washington - Department of Political Science

James Ron

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) - Division of International Studies

Aseem Prakash

University of Washington - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Why have countries enacted laws to restrict foreign funding of domestic NGOs? We suggest that these restrictions should be understood as a pushback against US hegemony which seeks to project its soft or smart power via the agency of NGOs and not as countries' opposition to NGOs per se, or to Western efforts to support the domestic NGO sector. We test our argument using an original dataset that codes laws regulating foreign funding flows to domestically operating NGOs across 192 countries. Using an event history approach, we examine the onset of restrictive laws for the period 1993-2012. We find that US aid is associated with an increased “risk” of a country adopting restrictive laws. In contrast, overall development aid is not a statistically significant predictor, suggesting that governments are responding to US support of their civil society sectors and not to international support per se. We further examine domestic conditions in recipient countries that might condition the effect of US aid. We find that competitive elections in interaction with US aid increase the risk of the onset of restrictive laws.

Keywords: NGOs, human rights, foreign funding, civil society, laws

Suggested Citation

Dupuy, Kendra and Ron, James and Prakash, Aseem, The Backlash against U.S. Smart Power? Restricting Foreign Aid to Domestic NGOs (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2451633

Kendra Dupuy (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Department of Political Science ( email )

101 Gowen Hall
Box 353530
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

James Ron

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

Minneapolis, MN
United States

Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) - Division of International Studies ( email )

Mexico City
Mexico

Aseem Prakash

University of Washington - Department of Political Science ( email )

101 Gowen Hall
Box 353530
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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