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The Power of Peers: How Transnational Advocacy Networks Shape NGO Strategies on Climate Change

Abstract

What explains variation in the tactical choices of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? This article uses network autocorrelation models to establish how the tactical choices of climate change NGOs are shaped by their embeddedness in transnational advocacy networks. Specifically, it finds that NGOs are more likely to adopt protest tactics when adjacent organizations – those with whom they have direct ties – have already done so. The choices of equivalent organizations – those that occupy similar relational roles in the network – do not appear to be influential. Qualitative evidence also shows that NGOs are affected by relational pressure from their peers, which alters their perception of costs and benefits. These findings enhance understanding of how networks influence actors’ behavior and offer insights into the relational processes that generate protest in global politics.

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Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland (email: jhadden1@umd.edu); Department of Politics, University of Exeter (email: l.jasny@exeter.ac.uk). The authors wish to particularly thank Carter Butts, Mark Lubell, Jonas Tallberg, Aseem Prakash, Sarah Bush, Jessica Green, Sarah Stroup and Sidney Tarrow for useful feedback on this article. We also thank participants in the Environmental Politics of Governance Workshop, the Political Networks Conference, and the DC IR Workshop for stimulating comments and discussion. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS and online appendices are available at https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123416000582.

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