Social Enterprises and Welfare Systems. The Role of Multi-stakeholder Governance and Price Discrimination

Social enterprises (SEs) have been active for some decades and have been regulated by law in several countries. Their operation showed ability to complement the provision of welfare services, especially social services, by the public sector and private enterprises, and to innovate in the introduction of new services, organizational and managerial models. In some cases, SEs succeeded in producing and innovating in an autonomous way, without depending on public financial support and procurement agreements. This paper starts from the state of the art in the study of SEs to propose different avenues through which they can be able to expand supply of welfare services and contribute to the decentralization of welfare systems. It traces these specific abilities to SEs’ peculiar institutional structure, especially their non-profit nature, the pursuit of public benefit and social missions, and multi-stakeholder governance. This last feature is considered the most remarkable emerging characteristic in the evolution of this organizational form. The paper then proceeds to focus on price discrimination as specific governance mechanism of the relations of production and exchange, involving different stakeholders and allowing SEs to widen their supply of services, achieve financial sustainability and contribute to the decentralization of the welfare system.

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Carlo Borzaga, Ermanno C. Tortia (2020). Social Enterprises and Welfare Systems. The Role of Multi-stakeholder Governance and Price Discrimination, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 9(2): 23-44. DOI: http//dx.doi.org/10.5947/jeod.2020.007