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Thanks for nothing? Not-for-profits and motivated agents

  • Ghatak, Maitreesh
  • Mueller, Hannes

We re-examine the labor donation theory of not-for-profits and show that these organizations may exist not necessarily because motivated workers prefer to work in them, or that they dominate for-profits in terms of welfare, but because the excess supply of motivated workers makes the non-profit form more attractive to managers. We show that if firms had to compete for motivated workers then not-for-profit firms would be competed out by for-profit firms. Therefore, in the choice between not-for-profit and for-profit provision, other than incentive problems, the distribution of rents between management and workers, and consequently, the relative scarcity of motivated workers may play an important role.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 94-105

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1-2:p:94-105
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
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  17. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  18. H. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2000. "Nonprofit Sector and Part-Time Work: An Analysis of Employer-Employee Matched Data of Child Care Workers," NBER Working Papers 7977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
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