Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


What types of resources are involved when members of a voluntary association combine their efforts in pursuit of joint goals or common goods? This paper examines the question from the vantage point of a rational choice theory termed endowment theory. Endowment theory is concerned with the rational allocation of productive surpluses to associations and other voluntary groups in pursuit of identified common goods. At least three distinct types of resource dowries can be identified in the current world of nonprofit associations. Treasuries are endowments of money and market-priced resources. Two other categories of "priceless" resource endowments are also evident among groups rendering common goods. Collections are sets of meaningful objects, superficially similar to inventories but lacking in market value, which have taken on special meaning in the context of association purposes. Repertories are dowries of "know how"--practical, sometimes tacit, knowledge and information of techniques and procedures appropriate to the association and its purposes. Understanding the resource position of associations requires taking repertories and collections into account along with treasuries.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.