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International Journal of Public Administration
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/lpad20
Government Mapping of the Third Sector: A
Government Innovation for Regulation and
Coordination? Perspectives From the Third Sector
Susan Appea a Department of Public Administration, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, USA.
Published online: 15 Jun 2015.
To cite this article: Susan Appe (2015) Government Mapping of the Third Sector: A Government Innovation for Regulation and Coordination? Perspectives From the Third Sector, International Journal of Public Administration, 38:10, 724-733, DOI: 10.1080/01900692.2014.956896
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01900692.2014.956896
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International Journal of Public Administration, 38: 724–733, 2015
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ISSN: 0190-0692 print / 1532-4265 online
Government Mapping of the Third Sector: A Government Innovation for Regulation and Coordination? Perspectives From the Third Sector
Department of Public Administration, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, USA
This article examines the policy tool of a registry of civil society organizations in a regulatory transparency framework. A registry serves as a government ‘mapping’ tool by collecting data on civil society and nonprofit organizations. Do government efforts to map the third sector hinder or foster nonprofit organizations’ capacity and their coordination? The balance between regulation and the strengthening of nonprofit organizations’ capacity and the coordination of goods and services through government innovations like the registries—i.e., third sector mappings—might indeed have the potential to foster a more effective and efficient third sector.
Keywords: third-sector mapping, government innovation, registries of civil society organizations, regulation transparency mechanisms
Given the blurring relationships between the market, civil society, and public sector, the concept of innovation has received a lot of attention—both in scholarship and in policy debates (Bassi, 2010; Economist, 2010; Edwards, 2008;
Frumkin, 2005; Phills, Deiglmeier, & Miller, 2008; Mulgan, 2006; Westley & Antadze, 2010). We can understand innovation as “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or another unit of adoption” (Roger, 2003, loc. 657). This article addresses the government mapping of the third sector as a potential government innovation. In particular, it examines a government policy tool through the framework of regulatory transparency mechanisms (Weil,
Fung, Graham, & Fagotto, 2006). The policy tool examined in the article is the registry of civil society organizations.
A registry serves as a government “mapping” tool by collecting data on civil society and nonprofit organizations (Appe, 2011). The article proposes an important question related to government mapping of the third sector: Do these government efforts to map the third sector hinder or foster nonprofit organizations’ capacity and their coordination?
Registries not only organize and rationalize nonprofit organizations, but they also have a role in regulation and in fostering effective collaboration among nonprofit
Correspondence should be addressed to Susan Appe, Assistant
Professor, Department of Public Administration, College of Community and Public Affairs, Binghamton University, University Downtown Center,
Room 341, P.O. Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org organizations and the goods and services they provide.
To elaborate the argument, the article presents data from two
Latin American countries, Ecuador and Colombia, which have experimented with registries of civil society organizations. Analysis is based on government administrative and legislative data and data derived from 82 interviews with nonprofit leaders. Specifically, the article analyzes the potential effectiveness of a registry as a regulatory transparency mechanism through interview data that highlight the perspectives of the target population—nonprofit organizations.
To date, the regulatory transparency framework presented by
Weil et al. (2006) has not yet been applied to policy tools targeting the third sector.
It is noted that many governments are putting forth further restrictions and regulations on civil society and nonprofit organizations (Human Rights Watch, 2006; International