Private Voluntary Organizations Engaged in International Assistance, 1939-2004

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Original Publication Date

December 12, 2007


Robert J. Barro, Rachel M. McCleary


Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly


U.S.-based private and voluntary organizations (PVOs) play an important role in international assistance. To assess this role, the authors constructed a new data set that covers more than 1,600 secular and religious PVOs that registered with the U.S. federal government between 1939 and 2004. In the post—World War II period, major revenue patterns are the rise of Evangelical PVOs, decline of Jewish PVOs, and rapid growth of secular PVOs from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. The authors analyze the determinants of changes in PVO size, gauged by real revenue. They focus on the interplay between public revenue (from the federal government, international organizations, and other governments) and private revenue. Specifically, they investigate whether funds from the federal government and other public entities serve as a magnet for subsequent private support.