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The Economic and Social Importance of Nonprofit Organizations


  • Burton A. Weisbrod


This paper focuses on three questions: Why are nonprofit sectors expanding? What are the effects of this growth on other parts of the economy? What is the evidence of nonprofits' performance? It presents evidence of nonprofits' growth in many nations, and examines the effects of that growth on both the private enterprise and government sectors, pointing out that while some nonprofit activities are generating increased competition with these other sectors, some activities involve cooperation and collaboration with them. Among the matters examined are: What causes interactions across sectors, and are interactions increasing? What is the nature of the "gains from exchange" between taxed and "untaxed" (for-profit and nonprofit) organizations? Do nonprofit organizations behave differently than private firms and government agencies, and what is the evidence? Finally, in light of the quantitative findings on organization behavior, a number of public policy issues involving the role of the nonprofit sector are identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Burton A. Weisbrod, "undated". "The Economic and Social Importance of Nonprofit Organizations," IPR working papers 95-28, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:95-28

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