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The Worth of the Social Economy

An International Perspective

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Edited By CIRIEC

What is the worth of the social economy? What worth does the social economy produce?
Co-operatives, not-for-profit and mutual benefits organizations as well as foundations share common values that colour the way they perform and how they manage to do so. Yet, little is known about how the social economy is actually being evaluated, and how evaluation may reinforce or weaken this specificity.
This book fills a gap in the literature about the social economy. It seeks to make a critical assessment of the interests to which the social economy of today must cater and for which questions of evaluation appear to be the most telling.
A first set of contributions is made up of four theoretical papers inspired by various disciplinary fields: management, economy, sociology, philosophy. A second set of contributions is composed of seven national analyses of how the social economy is evaluated in different institutional contexts: France, Québec (Canada), United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Portugal and Japan. The conclusion of the book summarizes the findings of this study and formulates some questions addressed to policy designers, evaluation specialists and social economy actors.

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Acknowledgements 9

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9 Acknowledgements The present book is the result of the CIRIEC international Working Group on Methods and Indicators of Evaluation of the Social Economy that met on a regular basis during three years (2005-2008) in order to explore this theme. At the closing of this work, I would like to thank all the members of the Working Group and the contributors to this book for their collaboration and the quality of our conversations. I also want to acknowledge the support of the national sections of CIRIEC that hosted our meetings, namely CIRIEC France, CIRIEC Belgium and CIRIEC Spain. This book could not have been produced in the absence of the support of CIRIEC international staff, in particular Christine Dussart, and of the Canada Research Chair on the Social Economy, namely Monique K. DeSève, as well as without the involvement of Nadine Richez-Battesti (CIRIEC France), Rafael Chaves, President of the CIRIEC International Scientific Commission “Social and Cooperative Economy”, Benoît Lévesque, President of the CIRIEC International Scientific Council and Bernard Thiry, General Director of CIRIEC international. May they be thanked. Marie J. Bouchard

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