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This dissertation empirically tests existing theories that have been used to explain the capacity of nonprofit sectors within and across nations. Firstly, this study briefly reviews each theory and discusses how each can usefully be extended to explain the existence and the capacity of nonprofits. A framework was developed from existing literature and tests the explanatory power of competing theories about the presence of nonprofits (NPOs) within and across nations. This study aimed to systematically explore the theoretical and empirical foundations of nonprofits' existence and capacity in order to contribute to the development of a more general framework of this phenomenon. It is hoped that this comprehensive conceptualization of NPOs capacity and existence will provide a ladder between existing and future research and provide guidance for better understanding NPOs. In addition, the cross-national component of this study is intended to explore the explanatory power of existing models for settings other than national culture in which most of them were created. Our results provide support for several theoretical perspectives the explaining variation in nonprofit sector capacity in a given community. Our analysis revealed a number of detailed findings about socioeconomic and institutional determinants of nonprofit service provision. Most of these are consistent with earlier studies. Theories that mostly focus on demand or need for nonprofits argument were not supported very well. Theories that focus on supply side and institutional theories appear to give us the stronger explanations for how nonprofit sector size varies across the communities. As discussed in the research findings, this study has made valuable contributions to the understanding and insights about how local conditions affect nonprofit existence and capacity analysis. From the results of the comprehensive data analysis and procedures, this study concludes that local condition affects existence and capacity of nonprofit sector. It is expected that the information produced and the implications of the study may be of help to nonprofit managers, policy-makers, and scholars to build more comprehensive understanding of nonprofits.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Askew School of Public Administration and Public Policy in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ralph S. Brower, Professor Directing Dissertation; Lee P. Stepina, Outside Committee Member; Richard Chackerian, Committee Member; William E. Klay, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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