My dissertation, Acquiescence Over Activism: How NGOs Manage Authoritarian Demands, asks how regimes negotiate the tradeoff between NGOs providing goods and NGOs strengthening civil society. I use a signaling model that highlights different NGO types and the information asymmetry between NGOs and regimes.
NGOs wish to execute their goals and regimes that try to avoid risky or problematic NGOs. I tests predictions from the model with a unique dataset from Nicaragua. I employ a natural experiment design to show that increased regime sensitivity to NGO costs encourages NGOs to adjust their activities in ways that reduce their negative externalities and bolster authoritarian consolidation.
I text-scraped individual NGO project data from the Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs website. I use project budgets, their locations, and the issue areas that NGOs choose to publicize to test my theory.