Private Action and the Public Good - Powell, Walter W.; Clemens, Elisabeth S. - Yale University Press
Social Science
Political Science

Private Action and the Public Good

  • Edited by Walter W. Powell and Elisabeth S. Clemens
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Governments around the world are turning over more of their services to private or charitable organizations, as politicians and pundits celebrate participation in civic activities. But can nonprofits provide more and higher-quality services than governments or for-profit businesses? Will nonprofits really increase social connectedness and civic engagement? This book, a sequel to Walter W. Powell’s widely acclaimed The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, brings together an original collection of writings that explores the nature of the "public good" and how private nonprofit organizations relate to it.

The contributors to this book—eminent sociologists, political scientists, management scholars, historians, and economists—examine the nonprofit sector through a variety of theoretical and methodological lenses. They consider the tensions between the provision of public goods and the interests of members and donors in nonprofit organizations. They contrast religious and secular nonprofits, as well as private and nonprofit provision of child care, mental health services, and health care. And they explore the growing role of nonprofits in the United States, France, Germany, and Eastern Europe, the contribution of nonprofits to economic development, and the forms and strategies of private action.

Walter W. Powell is professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. Elisabeth S. Clemens is associate professor of sociology at the University of Arizona.