The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Non-governmental Organizations

  • Caren Grown
Reference work entry


This article defines the term ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) and describes how they operate. It reviews the growth of the NGO sector since the 1980s, examines the reasons why NGOs have proliferated, reviews evidence on NGO impact, and summarizes how economists have modelled and tested hypotheses about the role of NGOs in development assistance.


Charitable giving Contract theory Development assistance Foreign aid Grameen Bank Humanitarian and relief work Imperfect information Incomplete contracts International development International donors Non-governmental organizations Non-profit organizations Participation of the poor Poverty alleviation Principal agent Private voluntary organizations Public goods Volunteerism 

JEL Classifications

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caren Grown
    • 1
  1. 1.