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The Meaning of Nonprofit Organization: Insights from Classical Institutionalism


  • Vladislav Valentinov


The paper explores the way the work of classic institutionalist authors can inform modern nonprofit economics. From the Veblenian perspective, nonprofit organization is explained as an institutional consequence of the pecuniary-industrial dichotomy. The Ayresian theoretical system is used to highlight nonprofit organization as a particular form of the progressive weakening of the institution of private property in response to technological imperatives. Based on these arguments, the societal meaning of nonprofit organization is shown to be in realizing instrumental value that is unattainable through pecuniary ceremonial behavior embodied in the for-profit sector. At the same, in line with the Veblenian analysis of American universities, the ability of nonprofit firms to attain instrumental value is recognized as potentially limited by the corrupting effects of the embedding pecuniary culture.

Suggested Citation

  • Vladislav Valentinov, 2011. "The Meaning of Nonprofit Organization: Insights from Classical Institutionalism," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 901-916.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:4:p:901-916 DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450408

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Young, Allyn A., 1928. "Increasing Returns and Economic Progress," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 38, pages 527-542.
    9. Luigi L. Pasinetti, 2001. "The Principle of Effective Demand and Its Relevance in the Long Run," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(3), pages 383-390, March.
    10. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1984. "Piero Sraffa," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 1-2, March.
    11. Dumenil, Gerard & Levy, Dominique, 1999. "Being Keynesian in the Short Term and Classical in the Long Term: The Traverse to Classical Long-Term Equilibrium," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(6), pages 684-716, December.
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    1. repec:zbw:espost:170724 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Valentinov, Vladislav & Vacekov√°, Gabriela, 2015. "Sustainability of Rural Nonprofit Organizations: Czech Republic and Beyond," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 9890-9906.
    3. Stefan Hielscher & Matthias Georg Will, 2014. "Mental Models of Sustainability: Unearthing and Analyzing the Mental Images of Corporate Sustainability with Qualitative Empirical Research," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(6), pages 708-719, November.

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