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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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Does the Social Economy Count? How Should We Measure It? Representations of the Social Economy through Statistical Indicators


Amélie ARTIS

Associate professor, Sciences Po Grenoble, France


Full professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada


Full professor, AGROCAMPUS OUEST, France

Using methods known only to himself, our investigatorreported some very interesting statistics.

[Our translation]

Marcel Gotlib and René Goscinny, Dingodossiers1

Statistics on the social economy are designed to quantify the relative weight of this type of economy (Salamon and Dewees, 2002), counteract its lack of visibility (Fecher and Sak, 2011) and improve overall knowledge and recognition of the field (UN, 2006). Quantification and ← 39 | 40 → evaluation are crucial steps for gaining a better understanding of the social economy and its place and role. Statistics also have a pragmatic function in that they allow to develop and assess public policy concerning the social economy at different territorial, national and international levels (Statistics New Zealand, 2004; London Economics, 2008).

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