Three Essays on Nonprofit Competition in Grant Markets

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Stuart Bretschneider


Nonprofit, Transaction cost economics, Grant markets, Contract markets, Organizational ecology, Nongovernmental organizations

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The following dissertation consists of three essays around the theme of nonprofit competition. The first essay develops an empirical framework for study of performance in contract markets, an important context for nonprofits since they receive much of their funding from contracts and grants. The essay uses transaction data from an online marketplace for custom software projects to address questions related to market risk and project failure. The second essay explores one specific aspect of nonprofit competition--organizational survival. Organizations within the international sector are observed over a 20-year time horizon to see how resources influence rates of organizational failure. The third essay presents a theoretical treatment of volatility in nonprofit grant markets. Numerical analysis and computer simulation are used to show that the grant-to-nonprofit ratio is an important determinant of market volatility, and that market volatility can cause organizations to fail even when they are performing at adequate levels.


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