Transaction Cost Perspectives on Cooperation: A Study of Hybrids Through Foundations Lobbying in the EU

  • Marybel PerezEmail author
Original Paper


This article uses a transaction cost economics (TCE) approach to analyze cooperation between nonprofits, governments and firms, namely, hybrids. This is a different concept from hybrids in the nonprofit management literature. In TCE, hybrids are organizational modes of transactions where the parties contribute limited resources, for which they establish modes of coordination. This article explains how the concept of hybrids can be applied to research on nonprofits, illustrating this with an analysis of foundations lobbying in the European Union (EU). As regulatory transactions are organized through hybrids, this article proposes that foundations are likely to participate in EU policymaking for regulatory transactions, which are too costly to solve individually. The results show that foundations participate in different EU regulatory environments; significantly, this includes environments with high coordination costs.


European Union Philanthropic foundations Transaction costs 



I thank Sara Stühlinger for her research assistance, Heidy Maldonado for her helpful comments, and Jeffrey Brudney and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable guidance in the development of this paper. Early versions of this manuscript benefited from the comments of the participants of the CEPS Interne Kolloquien May 2016, the 12th ISTR World Conference, and the ECPR General Conference 2016.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS), Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland

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