Growth and Competition: Institutional Dynamics of International Aid NGOs. A Socio-economic Study of the Industrialisation of Aid and NGOs (1990-2020).

PhD Defense
Santiago Núñez-Regueiro

17th october 2022 at 2 PM

Growth and Competition: Institutional Dynamics of International Aid NGOs.
A Socio-economic Study of the Industrialisation of Aid and NGOs (1990-2020).

Jury :
G. Rieucau, Professeure, Université de Picardie Jules Verne Présidente

E. Chiapello, Directrice d’études, EHESS Rapporteur
F. Jany-Catrice, Professeure, Université de Lille Rapporteur
R. Brauman, Professeur, University of Manchester Examinateur
A. Labrousse, Professeure, Science Po Lyon Directrice de thèse
M. Razafindrakoto, Directrice de recherche, IRD Directrice de thèse

Abstract :
This thesis focuses on Non-Governmental International Aid Organisations (IANGOs), with a view to study their present forms. IANGOs have become transnational organisations with several thousand employees, ever-increasing budgets and scales of action, operating within the specific institutional framework of international aid. The 90’s saw a huge increase in their number and activities, promoted by aid institutions, yet today IANGOs are criticised both for their limited effectiveness and impact, as well as for their marketisation or depoliticisation. Are IANGOs field-work organisations that foster socio-economic transformations in countries of the South, or rather western service providers of an outdated aid industry? What changes have they undergone in the last thirty years? What impact have the phenomena of growth and competition in the sector had on them?
From an institutionalist perspective, the thesis uses a mixed method approach to study the industrialisation of the sector at different levels. Quantitative techniques (data mining, statistical and network analyses) are supplemented by original empirical content (individual and collective interviews, observant participation) enabled by privileged access to rarely accessible data and groundwork. Considering the lack of data and economic analyses on the subject, the thesis first seeks to measure the growth and competition of IANGOs by creating and subsequently analysing an original database. This provides insights into how the funding models of IANGOs structure the sector in France. The thesis then proceeds with an in-depth study of three IANGOs and reveals two prominent institutional rationales affecting them: a quest for financial growth and the internalisation of market competition. Finally, this analysis considers the instrumentation of these rationales, and the underlying ideological issues at stake, with the study of two tools of international aid: quality approaches and grant calls for European funds. Through interdisciplinary contributions, the analysis thus sheds new light on the interplay of actors in the sector and the socio-economic, institutional, and normative processes in which they are embedded. It urges us to re-politicise development economics reflections on the effectiveness, scales and impacts of IANGOs, at a time when the sector comes under increasing scrutiny and questioning (“Shift the Power” manifesto, “Time to Decolonise Aid” movement).

Key words: non-governmental organisations; international aid; interdisciplinary development studies, non-for-profit economic models; socioeconomics.

The event is finished.


Oct 17 2022