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Social Enterprise in the United States and Europe: Understanding and Learning from the Differences

  • Janelle A. KerlinEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Since the 1980s both the United States and Europe have experienced a simultaneous expansion in social enterprise. However, little has been written comparing and contrasting American and European conceptions of social enterprise resulting in difficulty communicating on the topic and missed opportunities to learn and build on foreign experience. To address this need, this paper compares and contrasts American and European social enterprise through an extensive review of literature from the two regions and discussions with social enterprise researchers on both sides of the Atlantic. It outlines the definitions of social enterprise used by American and European academics and practitioners, identifies historical factors promoting and shaping different conceptions of social enterprise, and highlights the differing institutional and legal environments in which it operates. It concludes by identifying what Americans and Europeans can learn from each others’ experience with social enterprise.

Keywords

Social enterprise Third sector United States Europe 

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Administration and Urban StudiesAndrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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