The Governance of Not-for-Profit Organizations

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Edward L. Glaeser, Professor of Economics Edward L Glaeser
University of Chicago Press, Aug 23, 2003 - Business & Economics - 245 pages
Not-for-profit organizations play a critical role in the American economy. In health care, education, culture, and religion, we trust not-for-profit firms to serve the interests of their donors, customers, employees, and society at large. We know that such firms don't try to maximize profits, but what do they maximize?

This book attempts to answer that question, assembling leading experts on the economics of the not-for-profit sector to examine the problems of the health care industry, art museums, universities, and even the medieval church. Contributors look at a number of different aspects of not-for-profit operations, from the problems of fundraising, endowments, and governance to specific issues like hospital advertising.

The picture that emerges is complex and surprising. In some cases, not-for-profit firms appear to work extremely well: competition for workers, customers, and donors leads not-for-profit organizations to function as efficiently as any for-profit firm. In other contexts, large endowments and weak governance allow elite workers to maximize their own interests, rather than those of their donors, customers, or society at large.

Taken together, these papers greatly advance our knowledge of the dynamics and operations of not-for-profit organizations, revealing the under-explored systems of pressures and challenges that shape their governance.

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2 Does Governance Matter? The Case of Art Museums
3 HMO Penetration Ownership Status and the Rise of Hospital Advertising
Evidence from the Mixed Hospital Industry
The Sale of Private Chapels in Florentine Churches
A Synthesis and Empirical Evaluation
7 The Role of Nonprofit Endowments
Author Index
Subject Index

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Page viii - RELATION OF NATIONAL BUREAU DIRECTORS TO PUBLICATIONS REPORTING CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Since the present volume is a record of conference proceedings, it has been exempted from the rules governing submission of manuscripts to, and critical review by, the Board of Directors of the National Bureau.
Page 28 - In developing from places of dreaded impurity and exiled human wreckage into awesome citadels of science and bureaucratic order, they acquired a new moral identity, as well as new purposes and patients of higher status.
Page 26 - The role of the academician rose in prestige, leading to a change in the nature of the university. 'until "World War II even senior scholars at leading universities did a good deal of what they defined as scut work: teaching small groups of lower level students, reading papers and examinations and the like . . . Today, however, few well-known scholars teach more than six hours a week, and in leading universities many bargain for less . . . the routine problems of mass higher education have therefore...
Page 23 - managerial revolution," while not so widespread, so complete, or so progressive as some of its prophets have suggested, has taken place in many non-academic enterprises. What is perhaps unusual about the academic world is the extent to which the top management, while nominally acting in the interests of the board, actually represents the interests of "middle management" (ie the faculty), both to the board and to the world.

About the author (2003)

Edward L. Glaeser is professor of economics at Harvard University and a research associate of the NBER. He is the editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics and coeditor, with J. R. Meyer, of Chile: Political Economy of Urban Development.

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