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Thanks for Nothing? Not-for-Profits and Motivated Agents

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  • Ghatak, Maitreesh
  • Mueller, Hannes Felix

Abstract

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, the choice between not-for-profit and for-profit provision is not always a question of resolving incentive problems but also one of distribution of rents between management and workers, and consequently, the relative scarcity of workers plays an important role in this choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghatak, Maitreesh & Mueller, Hannes Felix, 2010. "Thanks for Nothing? Not-for-Profits and Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 7663, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7663
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    Cited by:

    1. Guha, Brishti & Chowdhury, Prabal Roy, 2013. "Micro-finance competition: Motivated micro-lenders, double-dipping and default," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 86-102.
    2. Laurent Gobillon & Carine Milcent, 2013. "Spatial disparities in hospital performance," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 1013-1040, November.
    3. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2011. "Working for a Good Cause," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-168/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 23 Apr 2013.
    4. Mikel Berdud & Juan M. Cabasés Hita & Jorge Nieto, 2012. "Motivational Capital and Incentives in Health Care Organisations," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1209, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    5. Barigozzi, Francesca & Burani, Nadia, 2016. "Competition and screening with motivated health professionals," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 358-371.
    6. Jaimovich, Esteban & Rud, Juan Pablo, 2014. "Excessive public employment and rent-seeking traps," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 144-155.
    7. Mikel Berdud & Juan M. Cabasés Hita & Jorge Nieto, 2014. "A Pilot Inquiry on Incentives and Intrinsic Motivation in Health Care: the Motivational Capital Explained by Doctors," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1401, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    8. Sagamba, MoÏse & Shchetinin, Oleg & Yusupov, Nurmukhammad, 2013. "Do Microloan Officers Want to Lend to the Less Advantaged? Evidence from a Choice Experiment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 182-198.
    9. Bubb, Ryan & Kaufman, Alex, 2013. "Consumer biases and mutual ownership," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 39-57.
    10. Ester Manna, 2013. "Intinsically Motivated Agents: Blessing or Curse for Firms ?," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2013-37, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Besley, Timothy J. & Malcomson, James M, 2016. "Choice and Competition in Public Service Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 11441, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Mikel Berdud & Juan M. Cabasés & Jorge Nieto, 2012. "Incentives Beyond the Money: Identity and Motivational Capital in Public Organizations," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1214, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    13. Barigozzi, Francesca & Burani, Nadia, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivation in the Labor Market: Not Too Much, Thank You," AICCON Working Papers 124-2013, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    14. Lea Cassar, 2014. "Optimal contracting with endogenous project mission," ECON - Working Papers 150, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2014.
    15. Kurt R. Brekke & Luigi Siciliani & Odd Rune Straume, 2011. "Quality competition with profit constraints: Do non-profit firms provide higher quality than for-profit firms?," NIPE Working Papers 05/2011, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    16. repec:bla:manchs:v:85:y:2017:i:2:p:133-162 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Daudi Pascal & Leif Atle Beisland & Roy Mersland, 2016. "The origin of CEOs and its influence on microfinance performance and risk-taking," Working Papers CEB 16-046, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    18. Stijn VAN PUYVELDE & Marc JEGERS, 2016. "Heterogeneity and self-selection into nonprofit management," CIRIEC Working Papers 1603, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
    19. F. Barigozzi & N. Burani, 2016. "Competition Between For-Profit and Non-Profit Firms: Incentives, Workers’ Self-Selection, and Wage Differentials," Working Papers wp1072, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    20. Kaniska Dam & Prabal Roy Chowdhuri, 2015. "Incentives and Competition in Microfinance," Working papers DTE 579, CIDE, División de Economía.
    21. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "Quality competition with profit constraints," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 642-659.
    22. Jones, Daniel B., 2015. "The supply and demand of motivated labor: When should we expect to see nonprofit wage gaps?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1-14.
    23. 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.
    24. David Ong & Chun-Lei Yang, 2014. "Pro Bono Work and Trust in Expert Fields," CESifo Working Paper Series 4897, CESifo Group Munich.
    25. BELLEFLAMME, Paul & LAMBERT, Thomas & SCHWIENBACHER, Armin, 2011. "Crowdfunding: tapping the right crowd," CORE Discussion Papers 2011032, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    free riding; intrinsic motivation; labor donation; not-for-profits;

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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