The impact of cooperative and social enterprises on development and the creation of social capital

This area intends to measure the impact of cooperative and social enterprises on economic and social development and the contributions made by these organizational types toward enhancing the social capital  that is accumulated at the local level. These types of enterprises produce a broad spectrum of goods and services, often of general interest, that the public sector or for-profit enterprises are either uninterested in or unable to produce. However, to date, the social and economic impact of social and cooperative enterprises has not been adequately investigated, either from a theoretical or empirical standpoint. Therefore, this area aims to analyse the capacity for social enterprises and cooperatives to support economic development, create new employment opportunities and stimulate the acquisition of social capital.



Scientific coordinator

Silvio Goglio earned his degree in Sociology, with a thesis on the economics of wellbeing. He then specialized in political economy at Istao in Ancona and in social research at the Graduate Research Center of City University in New York. Since 1976 he has taught Political Economy at the University of Trento, becoming associate professor in 1985. He has conducted research in regional development at the Department of Geography of Durham University (UK), at the Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Science in Budapest, at the Centre d’Estudis Planificaciò in Barcelona, and at the Italian American Institute of the City University in New York. He is currently coordinator of the Cooperation and local development research area at Euricse, in Trento, and is part of the faculty of the doctoral school on Local Development and Global Dynamics of the University of Trento. He serves on the editorial board of several journals including Sviluppo Locale, Rassegna and the Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity (JEOD).

Project List

Cooperative finance and sustainable development

 The main goal of this research project is to provide an advanced theoretical framework that connects local finance, and more particularly cooperative finance, to sustainable local development. The project is divided into two sub-projects. The first aims, on the one hand, at understanding the historical significance and potential impact of cooperative credit on local development; on the other, at evaluating organizational, governance and values development as compared to its economic and financial progression in the world.

The role of the cooperative sector in the accumulation of social capital

This research project focuses on the role of the cooperative sector in offering an explanation for the exceptional performance of the Province of Trento in terms of development and well-being. To this purpose, we will set up an original empirical framework, drawing on both primary and secondary data.

The aim is to provide an answer to the following research questions:
a) What are the roles and determinants of social capital? 
b) What is the role of service cooperatives in the accumulation of social capital?
c) Do cooperatives play a role in determining economic performance, development and well-being?

The contribution of cooperative and social enterprises to socio-economic development in transition countries

Cooperative and social enterprises are gaining an increasing relevance in transition countries as path-away out of social exclusion. These institutions can be regarded as a beneficial dynamic that can have a relevant impact upon the economic and social development both at national and local level, as they provide access to basic public interest services (social, educational, health, etc.) to local communities, including people who are unable to pay; contribute to a more balanced use and allocation of resources; generate new employment; play a role in enhancing the social capital that is accumulated at the local level; and play a part in taking informal activities out of the underground economy.

Politics and actions for work integration. An analysis of the role and economic and social impact of B-Type cooperatives

The project unfolds in two different parts:

+ the first aims at analysing the means by which B-type cooperatives integrate production, training and placement activities, both within their organization and on the outside job market;
+ the second measures the efficiency and success rate of work integration social cooperatives in the provinces of Trento and Bolzano.