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Entry and Exit in the Nonprofit Sector


  • Harrison Teresa D.

    () (Drexel University)

  • Laincz Christopher A

    () (Drexel University)


We study the entry and exit dynamics of nonprofit public charities using 1989-2003 tax return data. The observed patterns can be understood using a dynamic industry model based on Jovanovic (1982) that incorporates profit-deviation and a non-redistribution constraint. Both features generate a high exit threshold which implies high net entry rates and low exit rates. The data reveal that nonprofit gross entry rates are lower than those of for-profits in services, while extremely low exit rates (across both sectors and time) result in net entry rates nearly 3 times larger than that of for-profit firms. We find that the behavior of new public charities is remarkably similar to that found in studies of private firms (e.g. new firms begin smaller than the industry mean, but grow faster). However, exit patterns diverge sharply. Besides relatively low exit rates, the survival rate of new nonprofit firms greatly exceeds those found in studies on services and manufacturing. In addition we find that the hazard rate of exit declines with age and size, and with size conditional on age.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison Teresa D. & Laincz Christopher A, 2008. "Entry and Exit in the Nonprofit Sector," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-42, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harrison, Teresa & Laincz, Chris, 2013. "Nonprofits, Crowd-Out, and Credit Constraints," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2013-5, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    2. Troske, Kenneth R, 1996. "The Dynamic Adjustment Process of Firm Entry and Exit in Manufacturing and Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 705-735, October.
    3. Hansmann, Henry, 1986. "A Theory of Status Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 119-130, Spring.
    4. Teresa D. Harrison, 2008. "Taxes and Agglomeration Economies: How Are They Related to Nonprofit Firm Location?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 538-557, October.
    5. Ronald A. Wirtz, 2006. "The economy’s middle child," Fedgazette, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 1-4.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harrison, Teresa & Laincz, Chris, 2013. "Nonprofits, Crowd-Out, and Credit Constraints," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2013-5, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    2. Krasteva, Silvana & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2016. "Information, competition, and the quality of charities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 64-77.
    3. Nathan E. Wilson, 2016. "For-profit status and industry evolution in health care markets: evidence from the dialysis industry," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 297-319, December.
    4. Orsini, Chiara, 2016. "Ownership and exit behavior: evidence from the home health care market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65292, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Peter G. Backus, 2012. "Gibrat’s law and legacy for non-profit organisations: a non-parametric analysis," Working Papers 2012/8, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. Peter Nunnenkamp & Hannes Öhler & Tillmann Schwörer, 2011. "US based NGOs in International Development Cooperation: Survival of the Fittest?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 83, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    7. Gayle, Philip G. & Harrison, Teresa D. & Thornton, Jeremy, 2017. "Entry, donor market size, and competitive conduct among nonprofit firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 294-318.
    8. Harrison Teresa & Thornton Jeremy, 2014. "Too Many Nonprofits? An Empirical Approach to Estimating Trends in Nonprofit Demand Density," Nonprofit Policy Forum, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-17, October.
    9. Harrison, Teresa & Seim, Katja, 2013. "Nonprofit tax exemptions and market structure: The case of fitness centers," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2013-4, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    10. Nunnenkamp, Peter & Öhler, Hannes & Schwörer, Tillmann, 2013. "US based NGOs in International Development: Financial and Economic Determinants of Survival," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 45-65.
    11. repec:bpj:nonpfo:v:8:y:2017:i:3:p:211-235:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS

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