DP10179 | Are Donors Afraid of Charities' Core Costs? Scale Economies in Non-profit Provision

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We study contestability in non-profit markets where non-commercial providers supply a homogeneous collective good or service through increasing-returns-to-scale technologies. Unlike in the case of for-profit markets, in the non-profit case the absence of price-based sales contracts between providers and donors means that fixed costs are directly relevant to donors, and that they can translate into an entry barrier, protecting the position of an inefficient incumbent; or that, conversely, they can make it possible for inefficient newcomers to contest the position of a more efficient incumbent. Evidence from laboratory experiments show that fixed cost driven trade-offs between payoff dominance and perceived risk can lead to inefficient selection.