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The Weight of the Social Economy

An International Perspective


Edited By CIRIEC, Marie J. Bouchard and Damien Rousselière

What is the weight of the social economy? How should we measure it? Throughout the world, cooperatives, non-profit and mutual benefit organizations, foundations and other social enterprises play an important role in job creation, social cohesion, social innovation, regional development and environmental protection. Observations tend to confirm the ability of the social economy to contribute to balancing economies, mainly by serving as an anti-cyclical force in the face of economic crises. However, many countries and regions lack statistical information about its weight, size and scope on their territory.
This book fills a gap in the literature about the social economy. It seeks to explain why it is important to have statistics on it, to understand how they are produced, and to project how the social economy might be better understood in the future. The book offers researchers and decision-makers an overview of the current state of knowledge on these topics.

This book is the result of the International Ciriec working group on "The Weight and Size of the Social Economy – International Perspectives for the Production of Statistics for the Social Economy" developed by the CIRIEC International Scientific Commission "Social and Cooperative Economy":

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CIRIEC activities, publications and researches are realized with the support of the Belgian Federal Government – Scientific Policy and with the support of the Government of the Belgian French Speaking Community – Scientific Research.

This publication has been peer-reviewed.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photocopy, microfilmor any other means, without prior written permission from the publisher. All rightsreserved.


Éditions scientifiques internationalesBrussels, 20151 avenue Maurice, B-1050 Bruxelles, ;

ISSN 2030-3408ISBN 978-2-87574-287-2eISBN 978-3-0352-6545-3D/2015/5678/51

CIP available from the British Library, GB and the Library of Congress, USA.

Bibliographic information published by “Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek”

“Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek” lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”;detailed bibliographic data is available in the Internet at

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