In the modern world, the policy process and delivery of public service in many countries are happening not in isolation but with the engagement of different international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). The article “International development NGOs and bureaucratic capacity: Facilitator or destroyer?” written by Cambell, DiGiuseppe, and Murdie focuses on the influence of INGOs on the bureaucratic capacity in different regime types. Although the content and the empirical evidence of the article are substantive and legitimate, the authors’ quite obvious research conclusions can be considered as a drawback.
The article is constructed in a classical way with the parts for literature review, theory building, hypothesis formulation, data collection explanation, hypothesis testing, and research results. The main conclusion of the article is that the authors found a positive effect between the presence of INGOs and bureaucratic capacity in democratic countries and the absence of such effect in non-democratic regimes (Campbell, 2019, p. 4). In addition, Campbell et al. (2019) considered the influence of INGOs’ advocacy on the improvement of state-civil society relationships (p. 3). All in all, the authors are quite pessimistic about the opportunities of INGOs in non-democracies.
Commenting on the research results, it seems that the conclusions of the authors are self-evident. It is possible that the research findings will be not very interesting for the academic community because of the extensive development of the field in regards to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) research. For example, the article devotes little attention to the role of NGOs in the oppositional movements that can cause the fall of the regime. Such counter-state influence can be analyzed in the 2004 Orange revolution in Ukraine, the 2003 Rose revolution in Georgia, as well as in the help of NGOs to civil society in Russia and Belarus. After the breakdown of autocratic regimes with the help of NGOs, the bureaucratic capacity can become higher in new settings of a legitimate democratic state. Such kind of development seems to be excluded from the models proposed by the authors.
To sum up, the analyzed article is instructive for the students of comparative politics and international relations. It proposes the well-structured theory and logical model of the influence of the INGOs on the bureaucratic capacity of different regimes. However, the findings could be not relevant for the research community because of the not uniqueness of the formulated significant correlations. There is a hope that future research will make the argument more multidimensional and detailed.
Campbell, S., DiGiuseppe, M., & Murdie, A. (2019). International development NGOs and bureaucratic capacity: Facilitator or destroyer? Political Research Quarterly, 72(1), 3-18.