The Economic Value of the Charitable Sector
Chapter 2: The Benefits of Charities to the General Public
2. The beneﬁts of charities to the general public 2.1 INTRODUCTION A signiﬁcant number of attempts have been made to estimate the size of the voluntary sector, as measured by employment, income and expenditure. However, these studies provide only incomplete measures of the value of the sector as they focus on the costs rather than the beneﬁts, that is, the value added of the sector. The experiment reported in this chapter uses data from a study that, for the ﬁrst time, applied stated preference techniques to the valuation of the output of the charitable sector in the UK, with special reference to the housing and homelessness charities. Broadly speaking, charities can be seen as providing use value to a relatively small group of beneﬁciaries and non-use, option and indirect use values to society at large. This chapter deals with the estimation of the latter type of values from the perspective of the general public. The purpose of investigating the value of charities to the general public in the UK is twofold. The ﬁrst objective is to measure the beneﬁts which the charitable sector provides to society at large, over and above the beneﬁts received directly by the target groups. As mentioned in Chapter 1, these beneﬁts could potentially be motivated by a number of considerations. People may beneﬁt indirectly from the charities’ activities, for example by a reduction in the number of rough sleepers they encounter on city streets. Or they may...
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