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Spatial Clustering Of NGOs: An Evolutionary Economic Geography Approach

  • Dirk-Jan Koch

    ()

  • Ruerd Ruben
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    Strong patterns of concentration characterize the location decisions of development NGOs. Since current theories on non-profit location choice tend to neglect such tendencies, this article develops an evolutionary economic geography approach to non-profit organizations. It focuses on increasing returns to scale, labor mobility and path dependence and contextualizes those factors. A survey involving visual ranking methods of OECD-based development NGOs and structured field-level interviews with local NGOs in the Central African Republic and Tanzania provide original empirical data. Statistical methods are used to contrast the divergent experiences in the two countries. The article concludes that the increased interest of international NGOs in Tanzania and their continued lack of interest in the Central African Republic are self-perpetuating processes that explain the concentration of NGOs. This concentration may lead to increased efficiency, but reduces the equitable distribution of NGO aid and therefore has implications for the attainment of global poverty goals.

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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg0814.pdf
    File Function: Version August 2008
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    Paper provided by Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography in its series Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) with number 0814.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2008
    Date of revision: Aug 2008
    Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0814
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    Web page: http://econ.geo.uu.nl

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    1. Koen Frenken & Ron A. Boschma, 2007. "A theoretical framework for evolutionary economic geography: industrial dynamics and urban growth as a branching process," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(5), pages 635-649, September.
    2. Anet Weterings & Ron Boschma, 2004. "The effect of regional differences on the performance of software firms in the Netherlands," ERSA conference papers ersa04p208, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2006. "Path dependence and regional economic evolution," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 395-437, August.
    4. Ann Markusen, 2003. "On Conceptualization, Evidence and Impact: A Response to Hudson, Lagendijk and Peck," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 747-751.
    5. Axel Dreher & Florian Mölders & Peter Nunnenkamp, 2007. "Are NGOs the Better Donors? A Case Study of Aid Allocation for Sweden," KOF Working papers 07-180, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    6. Marcel Fafchamps & Trudy Owens, 2006. "Is International Funding Crowding Out Charitable Contributions in African NGOs?," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-055, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Ann Markusen, 1999. "Fuzzy Concepts, Scanty Evidence, Policy Distance: The Case for Rigour and Policy Relevance in Critical Regional Studies," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 869-884.
    8. Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen, 2003. "Rethinking the "New' Geographical Economics," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 637-648.
    9. Martin, Ron, 1999. "The New 'Geographical Turn' in Economics: Some Critical Reflections," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 65-91, January.
    10. Mitlin, Diana & Hickey, Sam & Bebbington, Anthony, 2007. "Reclaiming Development? NGOs and the Challenge of Alternatives," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1699-1720, October.
    11. Llavador, Humberto G. & Roemer, John E., 2001. "An equal-opportunity approach to the allocation of international aid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 147-171, February.
    12. Anna Fruttero & Varun Gauri, 2005. "The Strategic Choices of NGOs: Location Decisions in Rural Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 759-787.
    13. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    14. Michael E. Porter, 2000. "Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 14(1), pages 15-34, February.
    15. Ron A. Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2005. "Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0501, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Feb 2005.
    16. Fabio Sforzi, 2002. "The Industrial District and the 'New' Italian Economic Geography," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 439-447, June.
    17. Arnoud Lagendijk, 2003. "Towards Conceptual Quality in Regional Studies: The Need for Subtle Critique - A Response to Markusen," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 719-727.
    18. Rik Wenting & Oedzge Atzema & Koen Frenken, 2008. "Urban Amenities or Agglomeration Economies? Locational Behaviour and Entrepreneurial Success of Dutch Fashion Designers," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0803, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jan 2008.
    19. Krugman, Paul, 1998. "What's New about the New Economic Geography?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 7-17, Summer.
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