In his research, Koch uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative research techniques and data sets on aid allocations for 61 internationally operating NGOs from Europe, Canada, USA and Australia, to investigate a series of hypothesis about the behavior of NGOs.
He found that the policy choices of donors have an important influence on the countries chosen by NGOs to work in. They are less important when it comes to how active an NGO is in a country. His analysis shows, Koch claims, that NGOs follow governments and not the other way around. He also found that the quality of governance in a country does not seem to be a significant factor in any of this.
Not only do they all work in the same countries, within countries, NGOs also cluster and Koch analyses whether the factors that influenced the emergence of Silicon Valley play a similar role for Tanzania in "Serengeti Valley". He compares NGO aid and donor practices in Germany, Norway and the USA to test various hypothesis regarding the pattern of clustering. Is it risk aversion because of “marketization”? Or the degree of dependence on back donor? Does the emphasis on results lead to safe choices? A panel of Dutch researchers questioned Koch extensively on 26 February 2009 when he defended his PhD research. Questions remain but all panelists agreed that "this study is an important contribution to the debate."
by Rosien Herweijer
Links to articles (also in French) published on Koch’s research can be found at http://en.scientificcommons.org/dirk-jan_koch
See also the Euforic newsfeeds on civil society and cooperation policy