Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


International Relations


Johannes Karreth

Committee Member

Rebecca Evans

Committee Member

Christian Rice

Department Chair

Ann Karreth

Project Description

Scholars and practitioners alike have long debated about how to best implement foreign aid programs. However, the relationship between the United States’ primary foreign aid agency, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and faith-based non-governmental organizations (FBOs) remains widely underexplored. Understanding the role of FBOs as foreign aid implementers is critical to ensuring a holistic analysis of aid implementation. To contribute to this debate, this study examines when USAID partners with FBOs on foreign aid projects around the world. Across time and space, the degree to which USAID uses FBOs for implementation varies considerably. To explain this variation, this project considers the perspectives of both need-based and strategic factors: a pull and push perspective determining when client-country need or donor-country strategic preferences make FBOs an attractive implementing partner. The research design relies on USAID project data and focuses on trends across recipient countries and across time. Results from regression models show that the donor's domestic political environment are shown to be the strongest indicators for why USAID partners with FBOs as aid distributors. Regression results suggest higher FBO usage during Republican administrations and when the previous administration has already established FBO partnerships. Evidence on the role of client countries’ political and economic structures is mixed; USAID reliance on FBOs is partly related to political institutions and economic development.