Philanthropy, Advocacy, and Public Policy:
Nonprofit Organizations in Global Perspective
This course surveys the political economy of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and around the world--their diversity and scope, reasons for being, sources of support, and roles in policy-making. The study of nonprofit organizations (NPOs)--also called non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private voluntary organizations (PVOs) or the Third Sector-- is truly an interdisciplinary enterprise, drawing on economics, sociology, politics, history, and law, among other fields.
What are the defining characteristics of nonprofit organizations? Do these definitions hold across countries and cultures? Do nonprofit organizations emerge from historical circumstance, from government or market failures, from state or elite policies, from social entrepreneurship? How do we measure nonprofit performance, and to whom are these organizations accountable? Are the diversity, creativity, and/or responsiveness of nonprofits enhanced or diminished as they respond to expectations of donors or clients? Should we encourage, though public policies, a larger role for nonprofits? Do nonprofits compete unfairly with profit-making businesses? What distinguishes philanthropy from charity, and what motivates philanthropic and charitable behaviors?