American Nonprofit Law in Comparative Perspective
Alyssa A. DiRusso
Samford University - Cumberland School of Law
April 20, 2011
Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Vol. 10, p. 1, 2011
The American third sector is enjoying a recent surge of academic attention, which presents a unique opportunity to adopt an international perspective. This Article begins with an introduction to the basics of American nonprofit law. Integrating a comparative approach, it discusses the nonprofit sector in several countries in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden) and in Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). The American approach is then contrasted with the systems of nonprofit regulation in other countries, and two distinctive themes of American law emerge. First, American nonprofit law has a different primary relational focus: it regulates the relationship between the nonprofit and its donors and leaders, rather than the relationship between the nonprofit and the government. Second, American nonprofit law is unusually tax-centric in its regulatory scheme; the Treasury is a questionable locus of regulation for nonprofits, and most other countries use tax only as a supplemental, rather than central, regulatory force. The Article concludes with a call for greater attention to international and interdisciplinary approaches to the third sector.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: nonprofit, philanthropy, tax, tax-exempt, third sector, international
JEL Classification: K34, L31Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 23, 2011
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