Theme 2: Measurement and assessment of the social economy

Organisations need to be accountable to their members, funders and other stakeholders. Numbers are required by policy makers to justify state support, but also to show size, scope, performance and outcomes. Measuring and evaluating social economy is a multifaceted process in reason of its very nature, which is multiform (composed of nonprofit, cooperative, mutual benefit organisations and enterprises, etc.), permeable with other sectors (with emerging hybrid forms of organisations) and complex (combining social missions with economic activities). Different methods have each their own utility:
• satellite accounts and national statistical observatories;
• impact assessment (social, economic, environmental);
• longitudinal and/or demographic surveys;
• program evaluation;
• etc.

Issues can be raised about how to embrace the field as a whole:
• qualification and classification of social economy entities and activities;
• indicators that measure the weight and the impacts;
• development of methodologies to account for the evolution of the field;
• etc.

But other aspects also need to be discussed on how to value the performance of organisations and sectors:
• notion of performance;
• adequate measurement of social factors;
• participatory forms of assessment;
• etc.

International comparative empirical studies casting new light on the social economy are also highly welcome.
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