The Third Sector in Europe

The Third Sector in Europe

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Adalbert Evers and Jean-Louis Laville

This book explores Europe’s third sector – the non-profit organisations and providers of social services such as mutuals, co-operatives, associations, voluntary organisations and charities: these elements of a civil society are important yet often overlooked features in contemporary socio-economics and social policy.

Chapter 12: Social services by social enterprises: on the possible contributions of hybrid organizations and a civil society

Adalbert Evers and Jean-Louis Laville

Subjects: economics and finance, welfare economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


Adalbert Evers and Jean-Louis Laville INTRODUCTION Today’s developed societies are characterized by a general trend towards ‘tertiarization’, that is, a growing importance of services in all sectors of life and all areas of economic activity. Forecasts indicate that jobs in service sectors may soon make up about three-quarters of all jobs in the so-called ‘developed’ countries (Baethge and Wilkens, 2001). This chapter will focus on ‘social services’, that is, services to which a political community attributes not only an individual value but also a considerable value for groups, localities and society at large. Such a definition of social services clearly exceeds the core area of welfare services such as health and social care and it also includes services in the fields of culture and education. Given the importance attached to their externalities or the collective benefits they generate, the public policies that affect them, ranging from dense regulation to financing and production of social services directly by the state public sector, can have a significant impact. In most developed countries the role of third sector organizations, especially as far as their role as providers is concerned, is closely linked with the development of social services. It is in the field of social services that they have a special role as pioneers of new ideas, or as organizations that fill gaps, cooperate with the public authorities or even take a para-state role as providers. However, it is not only the respective roles of public authorities and third sector organizations that vary...

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