Nonprofit Spending and Government Provision of Public Services: Testing Theories of Government-Nonprofit Relationships

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36 Scopus citations


Empirical studies and theories of government-nonprofit relationships have assumed a unidirectional funding flow from governments to nonprofits and therefore focusing on the impact of governments on nonprofits. By articulating multiple mechanisms of how nonprofits may influence government spending and utilizing a unique panel dataset that contains nonprofit and local government spending on parks, this article tests several prominent theoretical models of government-nonprofit relationships to answer the question of how spending by park-supporting charities influences the level of public spending on parks and recreation services. The findings indicate that spending by park-supporting charities spending has a decreasing effect on the level of public operational spending on parks, which supports the supplementary model. However, there is a net gain in total community support for parks and recreation services. Finally, this article suggests that government-nonprofit relationships are not identical when funding sources for public service provision differ in subsectors. A two-way understanding is essential for the theory building and testing in government-nonprofit relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-254
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Public Management Research Association. All rights reserved.


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