Urbanization and development: The emergence of international nongovernmental organizations amid declining states

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Half of the world's population will live in cities by the early twenty-first century, and, of the ten most populated cities, nine will be in the developing world. Unfortunately, this is occurring at a time when national governments are increasingly unable to provide basic public services to growing populations. International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) have dramatically increased their efforts in urban areas and in economic and social development in general. Although sociologists have examined the causes and effects of Third World urbanization and development, they have not focused on the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in this process. We argue that inclusion of NGOs in the literature is necessary and even compatible with several current theories of development. We test the impact of INGOs on three interrelated measures of urbanization and development: overurbanization, economic growth, and access to safe water. The results show that INGOs slow overurbanization and promote economic and social development.

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Sociological Perspectives

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