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Influential information: Non-governmental organizations' role in foreign policy-making and international regime formation

Posted on:2003-04-23Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:Princeton UniversityCandidate:Bloodgood, Elizabeth AnneFull Text:PDF
GTID:1466390011989614Subject:Political science
In my dissertation I present an information argument for the influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in foreign policy-making and international regime formation. I argue that NGOs exert their influence by presenting novel, credible information to decision-makers which enables them to select a strategy to translate their pre-existing preferences into policy. I contend that NGOs can have an independent impact on foreign policy, and thus international regime formation, when they meet three conditions: novel information, institutional access, and credibility. I argue that domestic political institutions, particularly presidential or parliamentary democratic structures, and NGOs' choice of a strategy to communicate with decision-makers, to lobby or protest, determine NGO access to decision-making and the credibility of their information and thus their influence. I compare this information model of NGO influence to an alternative normative explanation which is currently predominant in the international relations literature. Four cases—the Friends of the Earth campaign against ozone-depleting chemicals, Greenpeace's campaign to ban nuclear testing, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines' effort to ban landmines, and Abolition 2000's campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons—are examined to provide plausibility for the information model as an explanation of NGO activities and influence in international politics. My dissertation has implications not only for our understanding of international regimes, but also for the way we view non-state actors in international relations. Models of strategic information transmission provide a concrete and orderly means to incorporate non-state actors into international relations theory without ad hoc additions to theories in violation of their core assumptions. This argument also holds hope for globalization optimists. NGOs can enable decision-makers to process and use the increased information available as a result of globalization and the information revolution, even though NGOs have their own goals which may not exactly correspond with decision-makers' interests.
Keywords/Search Tags:Information, International, NGO, Ngos, Foreign, Influence
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