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Understanding National Nonprofit Data Environments

Elizabeth A. Bloodgood, Jesse Bourns, Michael Lenczner, , Jenny Tabet, Amy Melvin, Wendy H. Wong

Abstract: We develop the concept of the nonprofit data environment as all data collected and reported in a country resulting from law implemented into practice. We map data environments across 20 countries and propose explanations for differences between the information nongovernmental organizations report (collected) and what is made publicly available (reported). Domestic factors including regime type, civil society autonomy, and regulatory quality increase the amount of information collected and released publicly. Exposure to international political forces, including aid flows and globalization, increases the gap, which runs counter to expectations of greater openness with global engagement. Our findings point to the need for a better understanding of patterns in non-profit organizations (NPOs) data environments; while all governments collect information, countries with similar legal codes have widely varying data environments. This matters for NPOs as their ability to learn and improve depends on access to quality data and coincides with a feared global political backlash.
Keywords: data environments / political / quality / information collected / nonprofit data environment / Understanding / countries

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