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Three research papers of CIRIEC on SSE statistics have been released by the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE)

Although policymakers increasingly pay attention to SSE organizations and enterprises in particular, their potentials to address social, economic and environmental problems in alternative ways, the lack of statistical information about the weight, size and scope of Social Economy often prevents them from establishing sustainable and inclusive policies for the development of SSE.

To address these problems, UNTFSSE began a research project, “Opportunities and challenges of statistics on SSE”, funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea (represented by Statistics Korea) in 2019 and coordinated by UNRISD, as the implementing agency of the UNTFSSE Knowledge Hub for the SDGs. The project aimed to contribute to knowledge diffusion and transfer about robust methodologies and high-quality approaches for data collection, analysis and interpretation of SSE statistics.

The first paperProducing Statistics on Social and Solidarity Economy: The State of the Art” provides an overview of the existing conceptual frameworks and international standards related to building statistics about the social and solidarity economy (SSE). It then looks at how the perimeter for SSE is set in the cases of the two main frameworks presently at hand: the “social economy approach,” as embodied in the CIRIEC Manual on drawing up satellite accounts and in the ILO Guidelines concerning statistics on cooperatives, and the “NPO approach”, as embodied in the United Nations NPI and TSE handbooks on non-profit and related institutions. The paper concludes with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, as well as recommendations for future work. The authors of this paper are Marie J. Bouchard UQAM and CIRIEC International) and Gabriel Salathé-Beaulieu (TIESS).

The second paper on “Mapping International SSE Mapping Exercises” outlines key mapping exercises dealing with the SSE for this first review process. The selected mapping exercises were then divided into three types: administrative, legal and institutional data containing statistical information; international research on SSE contributing to the development of statistical methodology and data; and thematic maps that portray the geographic pattern of SSE. The third and main chapter of the paper discusses how selected SSE organizations are classified, based on criteria such as the sector of activity or the geographical scale. The authors of this paper are Coline Compère, Barbara Sak and Jérôme Schoenmaeckers (CIRIEC-International).

The third paper titled “Producing Statistics on Social and Solidarity Economy: Policy Recommendations and Directions for Future Research” is a guide for governments interested in developing SSE statistics in their country and for researchers interested in working on improving and developing SSE statistics. It highlights that these statistics help to make visible and legitimize the SSE as a new field of public action, and contribute to a better design, implementation and evaluation of policies aimed at promoting the SSE.

The document identifies the main types of SSE statistics to be produced: quantitative economic statistics on the SSE within the framework of conventional economic aggregates and standard methodologies; statistics of SSE impacts, and statistics allowing comparisons at different levels, and between SSE and other types of economic entities. The paper concludes with recommendations for policy makers interested in the development of SSE statistics, as well as an outlook on areas for future research. The author of this paper is Rafael Chaves Ávila (CIRIEC-International and CIRIEC-Spain).

UNTFSSE has announced that the main results of the project and the findings of the research papers will be presented in upcoming international fora, such as the ICA Cooperative Research Conference.

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