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Nonprofit Organizations and the Intersectoral Division of Labor in the Arts

Working Paper #30, Fall 2003

Paul DiMaggio

This paper takes stock of what we know about the role of nonprofit enterprise in the production and distribution of the arts (broadly defined), primarily in the United States.  After briefly discussing measurement, I present data on the extent of nonprofit activity in a range of cultural subfields.  I then review theoretical explanations of the prevalence of nonprofits in cultural industries and discuss some puzzles that existing theories do not adequately solve.  After reviewing research and theory about behavioral differences between nonprofit and for-profit arts firms, I explore how the art-and-culture sector is evolving in the face of demographic change, the weakening of the cultural hierarchy, and the emergence of new production and distribution technologies. I conclude with a research agenda.

This paper will appear in the forthcoming The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook,  2nd edition, edited by Walter W. Powell and Richard Steinberg, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Full text version in PDF format.

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