Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law
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Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law

Edited by Matthew Harding

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of scholarship on not-for-profit law. The chapters, written by world leading experts, explore key ideas and debates in relation to: theories of the not-for-profit sector, the composition and scope of that sector, not-for-profit organisations and the constitution, the legal conception of charity, the tax treatment of not-for-profit organisations and the regulation of not-for-profits. The book serves to represent not-for-profit law as a field of academic inquiry, and to point the way to future research in that field.
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Chapter 2: A primer on the neo-classical republic theory of the nonprofit sector (and the other three sectors too)

Rob Atkinson


This chapter argues that we would do well to begin thinking about the not-for-profit sector from a radically different perspective than that which underpins the standard law and economics model of that sector. The chapter finds this perspective in neo-classical republican theory. From a republican point of view, the not-for-profit sector is not the last resort when other sectors fail: it is the source of important insights about all four sectors of the economy and their point and purpose. Moreover, the republican viewpoint notices the ways in which the not-for-profit sector seeks to shape and inform preferences, as opposed to simply satisfying them once formed. Using the example of education as a type of good provided by all four sectors of the mixed economy, and drawing on ancient and modern thought, the chapter argues for a flourishing not-for-profit sector oriented towards a vision of the common good grounded in scholarly reflection on questions of value.

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