Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Joshua First

Second Advisor

William Schneck

Third Advisor

Emily Fransee

Relational Format



This thesis explored the relationship between the decentralization laws of 1982 and 1983 in France and French associations as well as the resulting lack of exceptionalism in the French nonprofit sector. This thesis explores the claims of the French nonprofit scholar Edith Archambault as she argues that the steep rise in associations in France in the 1980s is due to the legal changes that occured during that same decade. In order to evaluate these claims, I used regression tests to compare the relationship between the growth of associations and other variants including economic growth, disposable income, and government expenditure. In order to analyse the exceptionalism of the French nonprofit sector from a qualitative point of view, I analyzed and compared key aspects of the nonprofit sectors in France, Germany, and the United States. Later, I dove deeper into the French associative landscape by studying the procedural changes that occured after the decentralization laws through two case studies: tuberculosis and unemployment. Overall, this thesis demonstrated that qualitatively economic growth is the predominant variable influencing the rise of associations in France in the 1980s, therefore, disproving the validity of Archambault’s argument. It also demonstrated that qualitatively, while France had a unique historical relationship between associations and the state, today the nonprofit sector is not as exceptional as previously believed but rather looks and acts like other nonprofit sectors around the globe.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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