Why Do Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations Offer Free Public Access?

Mirae Kim, Sheela Pandey, Sanjay K. Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A number of studies have shown that arts and cultural programs offer multifarious benefits to individuals and communities. However, there has been little discussion in the public management literature regarding access to cultural programs for people with limited disposable income. Although the arts industry is increasingly emphasizing the importance of expanding cultural access for all, we know little about what drives individual nonprofit organizations’ strategies. This article draws on benefits theory and resource dependence theory to explore the relationships between different types of revenue and the extent to which performing arts nonprofits offer free access. The authors use a unique data set compiled by DataArts to test how various types of revenue influence accessibility to the arts and find that performing arts nonprofits receiving grants from local governments, foundations, and corporations offer more free access. The article concludes with a discussion of study implications and an application of benefits theory to other types of nonprofits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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