Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Heidi Haddad

Reader 2

Heather Williams

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Noah A Levine


In this thesis, I consider the trend of increasing backlash against civil society around the world. I focus on Ecuador and Peru, both democratic countries that have placed restrictions on NGOs receiving foreign funding. I examine both countries in terms of changes over time in the regulatory environment for NGOs. I ask: What factors motivated these changes? I analyze the countries with respect to three possible explanations: defending sovereignty against foreign powers, stifling internal dissent, and seeking rents. In answering this question, I draw upon the laws in question, press releases, and news reports as well as interviews with NGO personnel and government regulators, among other sources. I conclude that while there is evidence for the stifling dissent explanation in both countries, there is no evidence for the defending sovereignty explanation in Peru and only circumstantial evidence for it in Ecuador. In Ecuador, there is contradictory evidence for the rent-seeking explanation while there is clearer evidence for it in Peru.