Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Political Science

First Advisor

Sara McLaughlin Mitchell

First Committee Member

Michael S. Lewis-Beck

Second Committee Member

Brian Lai

Third Committee Member

Wenfang Tang

Fourth Committee Member

Paul Retish


This research project is designed to understand the relationship between states and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), especially how they influence one another. In this study, I argue that the theoretical relationship between states' foreign policy behaviors and the behavior of NGO is dynamic and conditional, with the influence of NGOs on states' behaviors depending on the host states' regime type and the age of the influencing NGOs. I also argue that NGOs influence states' foreign policy behaviors toward other states both directly and indirectly, functioning as information providers, lobbying groups, agenda setters, and norm generators.

By applying these theoretical arguments to the field of international development, the influence of NGOs on states' decisions about foreign aid is analyzed with the case of the United States. A new time-series cross-sectional dataset of the activities of US-based NGOs in developing countries is constructed by utilizing annual reports of NGOs, websites, and through personal communication with NGO officers. In addition, another new dataset is constructed about the number of New York Time articles. With constructed datasets, the quantitative studies are conducted. The quantitative studies show that as number of US-based NGO field operations in developing countries increase, that country is significantly more likely to receive higher amounts of aid from the United States. NGOs that have longer operations in developing countries are also more effective at lobbying the United States to provide more foreign aid. Furthermore, empirical analyses show that as number of US-based NGO activities increase in a country, the media coverage of that country increases. The qualitative analyses of NGOs' influence on states' foreign policy behaviors are also conducted. Interviews with NGO workers, governmental officials, and a reporter from the New York Times provide insight about how NGOs interact with the US government. In addition, these interviews show that NGOs function as information providers, lobbying groups, agenda setters, and norm generators.

The theoretical understand of NGO-state relationships will contribute to the study of NGOs and NGOs' interaction with states. In addition, empirical analyses with newly constructed dataset and interviews with people in the field will become an important asset to social scientists in this field. The study also has a great potential to be expanded by including more NGO data, issue areas, and other countries' NGOs.


Foreign Aid, International Relations, Media coverage, NGOs, US foreign policy


vii, 181 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-181).


Copyright 2011 Youngwan Kim