Working paper 03/060 - Abstract

Not-for-profit Provision of Public Services (PDF, file 157 KB) (PDF, 157kB)

Patrick Francois

Not-for-profit firms are greatly over-represented in the childcare, medical care, education and care for the aged sectors where service providing workers, as well as purchasers, seem to care about the level or quality of service being provided. Since all individuals who care about service levels receive non-excludable benefits, these services have a public good element. Such care can be used to motivate employees to perform tasks beyond their strict job description. But such care only motivates effort if workers believe it affects the final level of provision. Since nonprofit status ensures management is not directly concerned with profit, or not answerable to owners with such concerns, it ensures workers' efforts 'matter' by committing the firm to not expropriating extra worker effort to lower costs or raise profits. Nonprofit firms can thus motivate their work force in a way that for-profit firms cannot match.

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