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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":

CIRIEC (International Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy) is a non-governmental international scientific organization. Its objectives are to undertake and promote the collection of information, scientific research, and the publication of works on economic sectors and activities oriented towards the service of the general and collective interest.
Marie J. Bouchard is Professor at Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada), Director of the Collective Enterprise Axis at Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales (CRISES). She published in this series The Worth of the Social Economy. An International Perspective (P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2009).
Damien Rousselière is Professor of economics at AGROCAMPUS OUEST (France) and visiting professor at Université du Québec à Montréal. He is also an external consultant for the Environment Directorate of the OECD and serves on the scientific council of Coop de France (French federation of agricultural cooperatives).