Measuring the Growth of the Nonprofit Sector: A Longitudinal Analysis

Published date01 March 2015
Date01 March 2015
Seok Eun Kim is associate professor in
the Department of Public Administration
at Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea.
His current research focuses on nonprof‌i t
growth and management, the relationship
between physical setting and human
responses, and corporate social responsibil-
ity and the role of government.
You Hyun Kim is chief of staff at the
National Assembly in South Korea. He
received a doctoral degree in economics
from Hanyang University, Seoul, South
Korea. His research focuses on public and
nonprof‌i t economics.
242 Public Administration Review • March | April 2015
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 75, Iss. 2, pp. 242–251. © 2014 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12306.
Seok Eun Kim
Hanyang University, South Korea
You Hyun Kim
Korean National Assembly, South Korea
Abstract: Scholars have examined the ef‌f ects of various environmental factors on the nonprof‌i t sector to elucidate
the role of nonprof‌i ts in modern society. However, researchers report a paucity of information on nonprof‌i t growth
using longitudinal data, especially outside the United States.  is article analyzes 40 years of political, economic,
and sociodemographic data in South Korea to test theories of nonprof‌i t growth and to determine whether the
concepts and theories developed for Western societies can be successfully applied in South Korea.  e results
show that demand- and supply-side economic theories account for variations in nonprof‌i t growth, but the existing
socioeconomic explanations fail to recognize the political inf‌l uences on nonprof‌i t development. Nonprof‌i t
organizations have emerged from social and economic necessity but have also been nurtured within a political
Practitioner Points
e interdependence of government and nonprof‌i t organizations might be the norm, but each country has
its own form of such interdependence depending on its historical roots.
• Nonprof‌i ts can thrive beyond the GDP growth rate when a suf‌f‌i cient level of demand heterogeneity is
nurtured in society.
•  e emergence of a welfare state has reduced the role of service-providing nonprof‌i t organizations and
instead spawned civic advocacy and labor unions.
Corbin 1999; Grønbjerg and Paarlberg 2001; Saxton
and Benson 2005; Twombly 2003). However, most
previous studies have used either case-based analyses
(Burger and Veldheer 2001) or cross-sectional data
(Ben-Ner and Van Hoomissen 1992; Bielefeld 2000;
Grønbjerg and Paarlberg 2001); limited research has
measured nonprof‌i t growth using longitudinal data.
In addition, most empirical studies of nonprof‌i t
growth have been conducted in the Western world,
even though “most Asian countries have a strong third
sector and a rich tradition of philanthropy” (Lyons
and Hasan 2002, 107). China is estimated to have
more than half a million registered nonprof‌i ts (Houser
Institute for Civil Society 2012). Japan also had about
one-half million registered and unregistered nonprof-
its and 32 million volunteers as of 2001 (Japanese
NGO Center for International Cooperation 2012).
South Korea has experienced one of the most active
civil society movements in the world (Bidet 2002;
Lyons and Hasan 2002).
Although the number of nonprof‌i ts has been increas-
ing rapidly in all Asian countries, South Korean non-
prof‌i ts have a few distinct characteristics.  e 2000
Act of Assistance for Non-Prof‌i t Civil Organizations
Measuring the Growth of the Nonprof‌i t Sector:
A Longitudinal Analysis
Understanding the ef‌f ects of political, eco-
nomic, and social factors on the growth
of the nonprof‌i t sector is important for
comprehending emerging demands and develop-
ments that shape the role of nonprof‌i ts in modern
society (Anheier 2013; Dighe 2002). Nonprof‌i t
growth calls for new government–nonprof‌i t relation-
ships, as governments have devolved responsibility for
providing public services to nonprof‌i t organizations
using a range of policy tools such as privatization
and tax relief (Lecy and Van Slyke 2013).  e push
to privatize government services tends to increase
the market share of the nonprof‌i t sector, but market
penetration into social services has forced nonprof‌i t
organizations to operate like businesses in order to
survive (Young and Salamon 2002). Concurrently, the
social and political roles of nonprof‌i ts have received
renewed attention in the context of civil society,
democracy establishment, and political participation
(Anheier 2013).
Scholars have examined the factors driving the
growth of the nonprof‌i t sector and the proper role
of nonprof‌i t organizations in society (Ben-Ner and
Van Hoomissen 1992; Burger and Veldheer 2001;

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT