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Competition, Contractibility, and the Market for Donors to Nonprofits

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  • Jeremy Thornton

Abstract

This article investigates theoretically and empirically the effects of competition for donors on the behavior of nonprofit organizations. Theoretically, we consider a situation in which nonprofit organizations use donations to produce some commodity, but the use of donations is only partially contractible. The main results of the model indicate that an increase in competition (i) decreases the fraction of donations allocated to perquisite consumption and (ii) increases the fraction of donations allocated to promotional expenditures. Moreover, the effects of competition are magnified by the ability to contract on the use of donations. These hypotheses are tested with data on the expenditures of nonprofit organizations in a number of subsectors where competition is primarily local. We use across--metropolitan statistical areas' variation to measure differences in competition and proxy contractibility by the importance of tangible assets, which are more easily observed by donors. The estimated effects of competition and contractibility are consistent with our model. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Thornton, 2008. "Competition, Contractibility, and the Market for Donors to Nonprofits," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 215-246, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:215-246
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewm036
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Nunnenkamp & Hannes Öhler, 2012. "Funding, Competition and the Efficiency of NGOs : An Empirical Analysis of Non‐charitable Expenditure of US NGOs Engaged in Foreign Aid," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 81-110, February.
    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. Aldashev, Gani & Marini, Marco & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "Brothers in alms? Coordination between nonprofits on markets for donations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 182-200.
    4. Krautheim, Sebastian & Verdier, Thierry, 2012. "Globalization, Credence Goods and International Civil Society," CEPR Discussion Papers 9232, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Gordon Liu & Wai-Wai Ko, 2011. "Social Alliance and Employee Voluntary Activities: A Resource-Based Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 251-268, December.
    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. Herzer, Dierk & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2013. "Private Donations, Government Grants, Commercial Activities, and Fundraising: Cointegration and Causality for NGOs in International Development Cooperation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 234-251.
    9. Ronelle Burger & Indraneel Dasgupta & Trudy Owens, 2015. "A Model of Nongovernmental Organization Regulation with an Application to Uganda," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(1), pages 71-111.
    10. repec:got:cegedp:109 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. 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.
    12. repec:aeg:report:2014-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Krautheim, Sebastian & Verdier, Thierry, 2016. "Offshoring with endogenous NGO activism," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 22-41.
    14. Lapo Filistrucchi & Jens Prüfer, 2013. "Nonprofits are not alike: The Role of Catholic and Protestant Affiliation," Working Papers - Economics wp2013_07.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    15. 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.
    16. Ronelle Burger & Indraneel Dasgupta & Trudy Owens, 2011. "A Model of NGO Regulation with an Application to Uganda," Working Papers 22/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    17. Faulk Lewis, 2014. "Overcoming the Cause of Failure and the Role of Issue Salience: Toward a Comprehensive Theory for Nonprofit Activity and Competition in a Three-Sector Economy," Nonprofit Policy Forum, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-31, October.
    18. Ly, Pierre & Mason, Geri, 2012. "Competition Between Microfinance NGOs: Evidence from Kiva," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 643-655.
    19. Aldashev, Gani & Verdier, Thierry, 2007. "NGO Competition and the Markets for Development Donations," CEPR Discussion Papers 6350, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Thornton, Jeremy, 2010. "Explaining unrestricted giving by charitable foundations: A transaction cost approach," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 44-53, January.

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