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For-Profit, State, and Nonprofit: How to Cut the Pie Among the Three Sectors


  • Avner Ben-Ner



What is the best way to deliver various goods and services in the advanced complex economy? What is the appropriate division of labor among the state, the private for-profit, and the nonprofit sectors? This paper explores these questions relative to the well-being of consumers, and offers a set of broad answers grounded in a benefit-cost analysis that balances (1) the relative value derived by consumers and customers from their relations with organizations from the three sectors, and (2) the relative efficiency of the internal organization of these types of organizations. The paper illustrates this benefit-cost analysis in the context of several industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Ben-Ner, "undated". "For-Profit, State, and Nonprofit: How to Cut the Pie Among the Three Sectors," Working Papers 0304, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  • Handle: RePEc:hrr:papers:0304

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dreze, Jacques H & Hagen, Kare P, 1978. "Choice of Product Quality: Equilibrium and Efficiency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(3), pages 493-513, May.
    2. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1974. "Incentives and Risk Sharing in Sharecropping," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 219-255.
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    4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "Not-for-profit entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 99-115, July.
    5. Carlo Borzaga, 2013. "Social enterprise," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise, chapter 32, pages 318-326 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman, 2000. "Values Matter," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 1(1), pages 39-60, January.
    7. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2003. "Is there a Case for Public Provision of Private Goods if Preferences are Heterogeneous? An Example with Day Care," CESifo Working Paper Series 938, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
    9. Ben-Ner Avner & Montias John Michael & Neuberger Egon, 1993. "Basic Issues in Organizations: A Comparative Perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 207-242, June.
    10. Ben-Ner, Avner & Jun, Byoung, 1996. "Employee Buyout in a Bargaining Game with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 502-523, June.
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    12. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
    13. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Volunteering nonprofit entrepreneurial services," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 117-127, October.
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    More about this item


    Three-Sector Economy; Division of labor among for-profit firms; state; and nonprofit organizations; Organization-consumer interface; Comparative analysis of agency problems; Production of public goods;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises

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