Stop Meddling in My Country! Governments’ Restrictions on Foreign Aid to Non-Governmental Organizations
44 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 23, 2014
What motivates countries to enact laws that restrict foreign funding to domestically operating non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? We suggest governments often pass these laws to combat perceived foreign attempts to shape domestic politics. Political elites are not necessarily opposed to NGOs per se, but rather see foreign intrusion via funding to civil society as a threat to their political power. We test our argument using an original dataset of laws regulating foreign funding flows to domestically operating NGOs in 192 countries, from 1993 to 2012. Using an event history approach, we examine the onset of restrictive laws, and find that foreign aid flows are associated with an increased “risk” of restrictive law adoption. Domestic political conditions, moreover, substantially exacerbate this risk, as governments are more likely to pass restrictive laws during, or shortly after, competitive legislative or executive elections.
Keywords: NGOs, regulations, foreign funding, human rights, elections, development aid
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