Government and the Voluntary Sector in an EraofRetrenchment: The American Experience

Lester M. Salamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Prevailing conceptions of the welfare state in the United States have failed to acknowledge the widespread partnership that exists between government and private voluntary organizations in the provisionofhuman services. Thanks in large part to this partnership, voluntary organizations have retained a significant role in the American welfare state, delivering a larger shareofgovernment-financed human services than government agencies. By cutting back on government spending, therefore, the Reagan administration has significantly reduced the revenues of the nonprofit sector while calling on this sector to do more. Although nonprofits as a group have overcome the resulting cutbacks, they have done so chiefly by increasing their income from service charges, rather than their private charitable support. in the process, serious questions have been raised about the continued abilityofnonprofit organizations to serve those in greatest need, and an important opportunity to strengthen the voluntary sector and rationalize government-nonprofit ties may have been lost, or at least postponed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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