Quantifying cooperatives and social enterprises in Italy

Research Area: Measurement and Impact
Scientific coordinator: Carlo Borzaga

Project status: on-going

The persisting economic crisis highlights the fact that in order to identify strategies for putting Italy back on the path of economic and occupational growth, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the potential contribution rendered from each sector, and in particular from various forms of enterprise.
Bearing this in mind, this research project is particularly timely and relevant. Euricse began working on this project several years ago with the aim of mapping the various forms and sectors of activity within the Italian cooperative landscape. The analysis focuses on the economic and occupational dimensions of the sector and the characteristics of the employees, as well as their evolution over time, through the development of economic and financial performance indicators coherent with the nature of these enterprises.


The project aims to provide an in-depth, updated and precise description of the economic and occupational impact of the Italian cooperative sector by providing statistical analysis quantifying the capacity of Italian cooperative enterprises to generate revenues and jobs, considering both the current scenario and the evolution of the sector over time. Particular attention is devoted to a comparative analysis of the performance of cooperative enterprises relative to that of shareholder corporations.

The study will also focus on new models of cooperative and social enterprises in order to verify the capacity of these organizations to respond to emerging needs and to innovate in terms of both product development and production processes.
The research is developed in collaboration with other research centers with the aim of becoming a reference point for researchers measuring the economic and social impact of cooperatives.

Main results

Over the years, Euricse has produced in-depth statistical analysis of data collected regarding the descriptive, economic, financial, sectorial and occupational characteristics of cooperatives.
The research activities have centered on data analysis for the period 2006-2011, with a specific focus on cooperatives’ resilience during the crisis. In particular, data from the 2006-2010 period confirms that cooperative enterprises, in various sectors of economic activity, maintained an anti-cyclical nature, recording growth during a period when other business forms slowed or decreased their value-added.



DMS StatLab

University of Trento

Centro Studi LegaCoop

Ealabora – Centro studi Confcooperative Italia