Handbook of Research on Nonprofit Economics and Management
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Handbook of Research on Nonprofit Economics and Management

Second Edition

Edited by Bruce A. Seaman and Dennis R. Young

Building on the success of the first edition, this thoroughly revised and expanded edition explores (1) areas of general agreement from previous research; (2) areas of conflicting results and unexplored questions; (3) the relative roles of theory, data availability and empirical analysis in explaining gaps in our knowledge; and (4) what must be done to improve our knowledge and extend the literature. Selected original chapters addressing especially challenging topics include the value of risk management to nonprofit decision-making; nonprofit wages theory and evidence; the valuation of volunteer labor; property tax exemption for nonprofits; when is competition good for the third sector; and product diversification and social enterprise; international perspectives; the application of experimental research and the macroeconomic effects of the nonprofit sector.
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Chapter 5: Asset composition

Woods Bowman, Thad Calabrese and Elizabeth Searing


The nonprofit charitable sector owns more than $3.3 trillion of assets – resources used in the provision of goods and services. Here, we describe the various types of assets used by nonprofits, and how these assets are distributed among industries. We then outline theories about asset composition in the nonprofit sector; as the sector changes and increasingly reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of social enterprise, theories about asset composition also are changing. Nonprofit organizations have unique asset ownership issues. Specifically, nonprofits own privileged assets – those resources that nonprofits might be unable to alter; restricted assets – those resources that donors limit to use or time; and endowments – those investments that are expected to generate further revenues for the nonprofit. Research on nonprofit assets is limited by both positive and normative elements. On the one hand, data are of limited availability; on the other, asset accumulation in nonprofits is widely viewed with skepticism.

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