Competition, Contractibility, and the Market for Donors to Nonprofits
Posted: 23 Jun 2008
Date Written: May 2008
This article investigates theoretically and empirically the effects of competition for donors on the behavior of nonprofit organizations. Theoretically, we consider a situation in which nonprofit organizations use donations to produce some commodity, but the use of donations is only partially contractible. The main results of the model indicate that an increase in competition (i) decreases the fraction of donations allocated to perquisite consumption and (ii) increases the fraction of donations allocated to promotional expenditures. Moreover, the effects of competition are magnified by the ability to contract on the use of donations. These hypotheses are tested with data on the expenditures of nonprofit organizations in a number of subsectors where competition is primarily local. We use across-metropolitan statistical areas' variation to measure differences in competition and proxy contractibility by the importance of tangible assets, which are more easily observed by donors. The estimated effects of competition and contractibility are consistent with our model.
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