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The future of the nonprofit sector: Its entwining with private enterprise and government

  • Burton A. Weisbrod

    (Department of Economics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois)

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    The nonprofit sector-neither private enterprise nor governmental-is growing rapidly, and not only in the United States. This article explores three questions about the sector, which includes large elements of such service industries as universities, hospitals, nursing homes, day-care centers, museums, social services, and organizations promoting medical research, environmental protection, and the arts. These questions are: (a) Why is the nonprofit sector expanding worldwide?; (b) How is the growth of nonprofits affecting other parts of the economy?; and (c) What evidence is there that nonprofits make a difference, that they perform functions which private firms or government cannot perform? A major theme is that the sector's growth necessitates finding ways to increase revenues, and that has brought side effects, particularly as nonprofits have become more and more “commercial.” In the process, borders between the nonprofit and both the for-profit and public sectors are being crossed increasingly, and with consequences that often pose problems.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 16 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 541-555

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:16:y:1997:i:4:p:541-555
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Preston, Anne E, 1988. "The Effects of Property Rights on Labor Costs of Nonprofit Firms: An Application to the Day Care Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 337-50, March.
    2. Weisbrod, Burton A, 1983. "Nonprofit and Proprietary Sector Behavior: Wage Differentials among Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(3), pages 246-63, July.
    3. Lynk, William J, 1995. "Nonprofit Hospital Mergers and the Exercise of Market Power," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 437-61, October.
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