Government–Nonprofit Cooperation: Anomaly or Necessity?

Lester M. Salamon, Stefan Toepler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


This paper challenges widespread philosophical and conceptual theories of the nonprofit sector and the state that question, or leave little conceptual room for, extensive cooperation between nonprofit organizations and government. To do so, the paper calls attention to shortcomings in the prevailing market failure/government failure theories of the nonprofit sector that have obscured recognition of key features of the sector that make cooperation with the state a natural and necessary path to effectiveness, and to certain inherent limitations of the state that make engagement of nonprofits a natural and useful path to state effectiveness. The article then outlines a set of conditions that must be met by both nonprofits and governments for this partnership to achieve the promise of which it is capable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2155-2177
Number of pages23
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 11 2015


  • Government–nonprofit partnership
  • New governance
  • New public management
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Voluntary failure theory
  • Welfare state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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