Regulatory reform: distinguishing between mutual-benefit and public-benefit entities

Carolyn J. Cordery, Dalice Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyse nonprofit regulation through comparing and contrasting mutual-benefit and public-benefit entities. It ascertains how these entities differ in size, publicness, tax benefits and whether these differences might suggest regulatory costs should be differentiated.
Design/methodology/approach: This mixed-methods study utilises financial data, submissions and interviews.
Findings: There are stark differences in these two types of regulated nonprofit entities. Members should be the primary monitoring agency/ies for mutual-benefit entities, but financial reports should be understandable to these members. Nevertheless, the availability of tax concessions, combined with the benefits of limited liability, suggest mutual-benefit entities should be regulated and monitored by government in a way sympathetic to their size.
Research limitations/implications: As with most research, a limitation is this study’s focus on a single jurisdiction.
Practical implications: The differences in these entities’ characteristics are important for designing regulation.
Social implications: Better regulation is likely to require a standard set of financial reporting standards. Government has the right to demand disclosures due to benefits mutual-benefit entities enjoy.
Originality/value: In comparison to studies utilising only public benefit data, this study uses unique datasets to compare public-benefit and mutual-benefit entities and presents nonprofit sector participant’s perceptions of these differences in context. This enables analysis of how better regulation could be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-450
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited


  • Charities
  • Differentiated regulation
  • Membership entities
  • Nonprofit regulation


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