Image from the Diego Rivera mural “Distribution of the Land” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Research Interests

The third sector, nonprofit associations, collaborative policy formation, and state politics


Frasier, Clifford W. 2021. “How Collective Action Problems Suppress Participation in Nonprofit Trade Associations.Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

In seeking to understand how nonprofits participate in policymaking at the state level, scholars of the third sector tend to overlook or assume a barrier to this activity: collective action problems. I show that such problems suppress charter school participation in their trade associations. An analysis of original survey data and informant interviews combined with IRS data for the complete set of charter membership associations in the United States demonstrates that schools’ participation in these collectives follows a classic pattern of collective action problems: in states where the number of potential members is high, participation rates are lower. Across states, the size of the population of schools eligible for membership better explains variation in participation than other factors typically deemed important by scholars, such as organizational resources and policy environments. The finding supports the argument that large numbers inhibit participation in associations that pursue collective goods for their industry.

Magee, Joseph C. and Clifford W. Frasier. 2014. “Status and power: the principal inputs to influence for public managers.” Public Administration Review74(3): 307-317.

The authors identify status and power as the principal bases of influence for public managers and describe how managers can use this conceptual distinction to increase their influence. Status is defined as the degree to which one is respected by one’s colleagues, and power is defined as asymmetric control over valued resources. Different social and relational processes govern (1) how people determine who is, and who ought to be, high status versus powerful and (2) how status and power affect individual psychology and behavior. To illustrate key points, the authors provide examples of individuals from the public sector and public service organizations. The framework of interpersonal influence gives practitioners behavioral strategies for increasing their status and power as well as a way to assess and diagnose interpersonal dimensions of their own performance in their jobs and careers. 

Book chapters:   Parés, Marc, Sonia M. Ospina, and Joan Subirats, eds. 2017. Social Innovation and Democratic Leadership: Communities and Social Change from Below. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Chapter 5
Parés, Marc, Sonia Ospina, and Cliff Frasier. “Bushwick: emerging innovations in a dramatically gentrified neighbourhood.”

Chapter 6
Parés, Marc, Sonia Ospina, and Cliff Frasier. “South Bronx: a whole community fighting social exclusion.”  

Available as case studies:
Bushwick neighborhood
South Bronx neighborhood

Works in Progress

Please feel free to e-mail me to access the current version of the working papers.

“Barriers to Collaborative Nonprofit Advocacy”  (In revision for Nonprofit Management and Leadership)

Scholars of nonprofit advocacy recognize that while nonprofits benefit from collective advocacy many do not participate in the collectives. To clarify and elaborate why nonprofits may forgo engagement in collaborative advocacy, this study examines nonprofit membership in voluntary associations designed for cooperative pursuit of policy. A qualitative study of 32 nonprofit associations in the American charter school sector finds 19 explanations for why schools may not participate in their associations and four are discussed in depth: policy disagreement, free riding, low nonprofit resources, and high nonprofit resources. Consideration of mechanisms underlying these explanations leads to the suggestion that three factors — free riding, policy disagreement, and high resources — act as barriers to collaborative nonprofit advocacy. However, interviews fail to provide a clear account for why low organizational resources contribute to nonparticipation. Rather, the field data suggest that policy disagreement may be a better explanation for why low resource nonprofits opt out of participation in their interest association.

Nigam, Amit, and Clifford W. Frasier. “Determinants of Individual Hospital Performance under Pay-for-Performance: A Systematic Review.” Medical Care Research and Review (Revise and Resubmit). 

Pay-for-performance targeted at hospitals—payment systems that tie hospital reimbursement with quality—is increasingly being used to increase quality and value in the health care system. While a growing body of research has begun to examine the overall effects of pay-for-performance initiatives targeted at hospitals, it is inevitable that some hospitals will perform better than others. This article reviews the literature discussing organizational and contextual factors that might drive individual hospitals’ performance under pay-for-performance. Drawing on diverse theories from management research, we explore evidence of the diverse effects of community and market context, organizational learning, resources and capabilities, and leadership on individual hospital performance under pay for performance. The results indicate that all can play important roles as drivers of individual performance. Nevertheless, there is mixed evidence in support of some specific drivers of hospital attainment and improvement under pay-for-performance. We conclude by identifying five areas for future research.