The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 425–448 | Cite as

There’s no place like home: Explaining international NGO advocacy



INGO advocacy can range from cooperative to confrontational, and these tactical choices can have important repercussions for the overall success of the organization’s policy work, yet little attention has been paid to this variation. We contend that INGO advocacy strategies are shaped by the organization’s national origin. Drawing on insights from sociology and political science, we argue that there is substantial variation among wealthy industrialized democracies in the availability and structure of material resources as well as the domestic institutional environment surrounding INGO work. Together, these national-level factors shape INGOs’ choice of the level of confrontation or conciliation that they adopt in their advocacy. We first demonstrate the importance of INGO national origin using new data on the confrontational advocacy strategies of over 3000 non-governmental organizations from OECD countries that are international in focus. We then explore the relationship between national origin and INGO practice through comparative case studies of INGO umbrella organizations in the relief and development sector. Throughout, we focus on four countries in particular: the United States, Britain, France, and Japan. These countries differ significantly in terms of the material resources and institutional environments faced by INGOs and thus allow us to understand whether and how these factors influence INGO advocacy choices. These systematic differences in INGO strategies have important ramifications for understanding national and global advocacy by INGOs and demonstrate an enduring role of the state in shaping the behavior of non-state actors.


International non-governmental organization Events analysis Advocacy United States France Britain Japan 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlebury CollegeMiddleburyUSA
  2. 2.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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