Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Public Administration and Policy

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, ix, 127 pages) : illustrations (some color), maps

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Matthew C Ingram

Committee Members

Erzsébet Fazekas, Jennifer Dodge


Brazil, government, nonprofit, outcomes, Nonprofit organizations, Organizational effectiveness, Non-governmental organizations

Subject Categories

Public Administration


This dissertation analyzes the contribution of nonprofit organizations to society. The main goal is to discuss through which conditions nonprofits present beneficial results to society, exploring mainly the alternatives of collaboration with the government or a more autonomous action. Using data from Brazil, the first essay discusses nonprofit location. Despite great regional variation, the previous density of nonprofits existing in a municipality has a stronger positive effect that is larger than the effects of social needs or resources available in explaining why new nonprofits choose to locate in certain sites. The second essay analyzes the effect of nonprofits on the variation of human development and income inequality, both when these organizations work autonomously and when they collaborate with the government. Collaboration is negatively associated with variation in income inequality, but the same negative association also happens with the Human Development Index (HDI), composed of health, income, and educational variables. Nonprofits from different fields of activity may have beneficial or detrimental associations with human development and inequality. A qualitative analysis identifies, in the third essay, the organizational, relational, and contextual factors influencing nonprofit action and, therefore, their outcomes when working autonomously and when collaborating with the government. The third essay concludes with typical paths of success or failure, which may support nonprofits in making decisions towards their intended results. The dissertation overall contributes to a better understanding of governance and nonprofit action. Specifically, it shows that nonprofits working autonomously or in partnership with the government do not always improve society, and that certain conditions contribute to generate positive outcomes. The dissertation also highlights the diversity of nonprofits in Brazil, revealing which nonprofit arrangements should be a priority for individuals and organizations aiming for distinct goals.