March 7, 2007

Do non-profits make a difference? Evaluating non-profit vis-à-vis for-profit organisations in social services

Kinderopvang, zorg en re-integratie: non-profits weinig onderscheidend

Press release
De kwaliteit en toegankelijkheid van dienstverlening van non-profit organisaties in met name de kinderopvang en de zorg en bij re-integratie verschillen doorgaans niet veel van die van winstgerichte organisaties.

We are sorry, unfortunately there is no English translation of this page.


Dick Morks

Essentially, in order to answer these questions, three steps can be followed: (i) identifying potentially relevant market failures that non-profits may aim to diminish; (ii) linking market failures to observed performance indicators for profits and non-profits; and (iii) use these insights to derive policy implications: should non-profits be stimulated? We apply the proposed framework to three sectors that are commonly labelled as 'social services': the care sector, the childcare sector and welfare-to-work services. All these sectors are subject to substantial informational problems regarding the quality of services. When surveying the literature, we find non-profit organisations only to make a difference in some specific cases. So far, there is no strong evidence that can be used as an argument to stimulate non-profit organisations in mixed markets. Moreover, such (targeted) policies may discourage donated labour and private donations, thus rendering them largely ineffective.


Pierre Koning
Joëlle Noailly
Sabine Visser