Economic and social impact assessment for work integration social enterprises

Research Area: Measurement and Impact
Scientific coordinator: Sara Depedri
Project Manager: Sara Depedri

Project status: on-going


The topic of social impact measurement is of great interest and a priority to both researchers and practitioners in cooperatives and social enterprises. To this end, in recent years Euricse has implemented several research lines and approaches designed to measure, report and evaluate the economic and social impact generated by social enterprises.

This research project focuses on studying the impact generated by the employment of disadvantaged people in social cooperatives.

The research project has drawn on two complementary methodologies for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of work integration actions: (i) a cost-benefit analysis, which is aimed to understand and to monetize the generated savings (or costs) for public administrations to support the employment of disadvantaged people in social cooperatives, rather than providing such persons with welfare policies ; (ii) a questionnaire devoted to disadvantaged people employed in social enterprises, in  order to evaluate their well-being and the impact of the work integration process on their lives.


The general aim of the research project is to develop and test methodologies for analyzing the social impact of work integration in social cooperatives and social enterprises, as well as for understanding the impact generated by work integration activities in terms of: (i) output, or concrete and direct results of the action, identifiable in the numbers of created jobs, in the implemented training paths, in the final employment impact; (ii) monetary implications for public administrations; (iii) outcomes, i.e. elements of well-being for the employed people; (iv) impacts, in the medium to long run, on the actors affected by the action, but also on the community as a whole.

For this purpose, the research indirectly aims to  develop and test analytical methods that can identify best practices in the work-placement process and the peculiarities of different local models. Lastly, it is a related objective to question the different efficiency and effectiveness of policies of work integration and job placement and therefore to identify the key elements of local eco-systems supporting social enterprises. By looking at specific target beneficiaries, the research project will also help understand the advantages and impacts generated when job placement is targeted to specific issues and people (such as detainees and immigrants).

Main results

Measurement and assessment of the social impact of job placement has been carried out in the past years through the adaptation of the Valoris model (promoted in other territories by Elisa Chiaf). The replication of the model in areas characterized by different policies to support work integration in social cooperatives has demonstrated the different levels of net benefit for public administrations and diverse behaviours by local social enterprises. As a conclusion, it can be assessed that even with significant local contributions, public administrations have net benefits where policies support innovative processes in social cooperatives and the activation of long-term work integration paths.

Questionnaires submitted to statistically representative samples of employed workers also revealed a good level of professional and personal growth, social and work integration, and significant changes and impacts on the lives of disadvantaged workers.

In addition to these direct results, the research activity had some indirect results, including for instance the activation of  training courses for cooperatives in order to allow them to acquire the necessary competences for the autonomous application of study models to their activity.


Depedri, S., (2012) (a cura di) L’inclusione efficiente. L’esperienza delle cooperative sociali di inserimento lavorativo, FrancoAngeli ed.

Depedri S. e Boglioni M. (2012) “L’inserimento lavorativo avvantaggia solo i soggetti svantaggiati? – Un’analisi costi-benefici applicata ad alcune cooperative sociali aderenti al Consorzio Sociale Unitario G. Zorzetto di Venezia”, Euricse Research report n. 7, 2012.

Depedri S. (2015) “Costi e benefici delle cooperative di inserimento lavorativo”, Terzo rapporto Euricse.

This research report includes the most recent evolutions of a concluded project whose specific subject was cost-benefit analysis for social cooperatives active in work integration:

Policies and actions for work integration. Analysis of the economic and social impact and role of type-B cooperatives.

The concept of “impact” and particularly of “social impact” is assuming increasing relevance at both a scientific level and among policy-makers. Interest is growing particularly in the development of a system of evaluation aimed at identifying the social effects in general and in particular the impact on work quality and the supply of welfare services by social enterprises, and more generally cooperatives.

The research wants to make an original contribution to this debate and has the objective both of developing specific methodological proposals for impact evaluation for cooperatives and social enterprises, and concretely measuring certain types of impact of particular significance.

The other projects that fall within this line of research are:

Analysis of the role played by social enterprise in modern welfare systems in a comparative perspective;
Analysis of the impact of cooperative and social enterprises on work quality.


Agenzia del Lavoro di Trento

Confcooperative-Federsolidarietà Friuli Venezia Giulia

Legacoop Friuli Venezia Giulia

Cooperativa Noncello

Consorzio CSU Zorsetto

accountabilityDisadvantaged peopleemploymentWork integration

People involved

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