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Receive Grants or Perish? The Survival Prospects of African Nongovernmental Organizations

  • Ronelle Burger
  • Trudy Owens

This study examines survival patterns in a large, representative panel of Ugandan nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) between 2002 and 2008. It finds no evidence that more effective or more altruistic NGOs have a greater likelihood of survival. The main determinant of survival appears to be access to grants, and NGOs without grants struggle to survive. An investigation of the grant allocation mechanism suggests that effectiveness does not increase an NGO?s likelihood of receiving a grant. Grant allocation appears to be neither fair nor effective, but rather to be awarded on the basis of habit rather than merit: once a grant has been allocated there is a strong tendency for it to persist. The odds are stacked against small NGOs that have not previously received grants. A picture emerges of two parallel NGO worlds: one where revenues are small, variable and hard to come by and survival is not very likely, and the other where revenues are high, more stable and more accessible and survival is more likely. The study suggests it may be difficult for an NGO to move from the former to the latter.

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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/credit/documents/papers/11-07.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, CREDIT in its series Discussion Papers with number 11/07.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notcre:11/07
Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD
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Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Burger, Ronelle & Owens, Trudy, 2010. "Promoting Transparency in the NGO Sector: Examining the Availability and Reliability of Self-Reported Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1263-1277, September.
  2. Barr, Abigail & Fafchamps, Marcel & Owens, Trudy, 2005. "The governance of non-governmental organizations in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 657-679, April.
  3. Martens,Bertin & Mummert,Uwe & Murrell,Peter & Seabright,Paul, 2008. "The Institutional Economics of Foreign Aid," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521055390.
  4. Moreira, Marcelo J., 2009. "Tests with correct size when instruments can be arbitrarily weak," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 152(2), pages 131-140, October.
  5. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2002. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 1-3, January.
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