The Power of the Purse: How Funding NGOs Helps International Bureaucrats Advance Policy Open Access

Wilson, Maya J (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/nk322f20x?locale=en
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Abstract

International organizations (IGOs) are often seen as agents beholden to their member state principals, effective only in so far as their goals align with their powerful members. However, despite the constraints imposed by their lack of formal authority, IGOs can change the preferences of the governments they represent. In this dissertation, I show that international bureaucrats are influencing their member states by funding advocacy groups to mobilize support for the IGO's agenda among citizens, and lobby national representatives to support the IGO's policies.

The three papers here explore the use of this mechanism in the context of the European Union by looking at operating grants provided by the European Commission to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A formal model is used to provide the logic for claims that the Commission's funding is changing the agenda of the NGOs to reflect EU priorities, and demonstrates how the money is used to its maximum effectiveness. The second paper shows that the presence of Commission-funded NGOs can increase support for the Commission's agenda on the ground, and the third paper demonstrates that receiving EU funding leads organizations to increase the amount of resources they dedicate to lobbying the European Parliament.

The evidence provided here draws on two original datasets: all operating grants provided by the European Commission to NGOs from 2007-2013, and a dataset of the partner organizations of all environmental NGOs that received funding during this timeframe. The quantitative models also draw on Eurobarometer surveys and data recently made available by the European Commission's Transparency Register. In all three papers, the quantitative evidence is supplemented with short qualitative case studies and interviews with representatives of NGOs, staff and advisors for Members of the European Parliament, and bureaucrats that manage the grant programs for the European Commission.

Table of Contents

  1. 1 Aligning Agendas

    1 Introduction................................... 1

    LiteratureReview................................ 6

    Theory...................................... 11

    NGO Expertise and Asymmetric Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    Co-financing Grants to Reduce Opportunism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

    Model...................................... 22

    The Game................................. 24

    Equilibrium Behavior........................... 24

    Statement of Equilibrium......................... 33

    Comparative Statics ........................... 35

    Conclusion.................................... 38

  2. 2 Mobilizing Legitimacy 40

    Introduction................................... 40

    Literature Review................................ 45

    Theory...................................... 49

    The Grant Process ............................ 52

    Straight from the Source......................... 55

    NGO Legitimacy in Brussels and Beyond................ 58

    Empirical Analysis ............................... 61

    The Data ................................. 61

    Results................................... 71

    Endogeneity Tests............................. 84

    Conclusion.................................... 88

  3. 3 Sponsoring Influence 90

    Introduction................................... 90

    Literature Review................................ 93

    Theory...................................... 99

    Lobbying on Behalf of the Commission ................. 100

    The Grant Process ............................ 102

    Empirical Analysis ............................... 105

    Qualitative Evidence ........................... 105

    Quantitative Evidence .......................... 109

    The Data ................................. 109

    Results................................... 112

    Considerations .............................. 118

    Conclusion.................................... 121

    Final Remarks ................................. 121

    References 126

    A Interview Appendix 134

    B Appendix to Aligning Agendas 152

    C Appendix to Mobilizing Legitimacy 168

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