Non-profit economics


Marthe Nyssens, Anaïs Perilleux

Research Projects

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End

Social enterprises and sustainability: A comparative analysis between worker cooperatives and social cooperatives

Anaïs Périlleux Esmeralda Gerritse 2019 2023

Project Description

Cooperatives, one of the oldest types of social enterprises, have received fresh attention because they can play an important role in social and ecological transition. This research project will focus on the sustainability of worker cooperatives and the new wave of so-called “social cooperatives”. First, it will analyse the resilience of SCOP, the French worker cooperatives, to the recent crisis. Secondly, it will look at “social cooperatives” and investigate their survivability. Thirdly, it will explore the institutional arrangements/governance structure of worker cooperatives and social cooperatives to analyse their similarities and divergences and to see to what extent those organisations can be understood as commons.

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End
EC/COST Empowering the next generation of SE scholars Marthe Nyssens   2017 2020

Project Description

This Cost Action aims at:

  • Contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the diversity of SE models emerging across Europe and globally;
  •  Empowering the next generation of SE scholars, focusing on expanding the SE scientific community to less research-intensive countries where it is still embryonic or non-existing;
  • Fostering evidence-based policy from local to European levels and supporting the development of SE and their eco-systems in synergy with main industry representatives and stakeholders;
  • Implementing networking mechanisms to connect fragmented communities and to contribute to closing the gap between the scientific community, policy- makers and society throughout Europe and beyond.

More information at

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End
INNOVIRIS Collaborative cities for collaborative entrepreneurs (city4coEN). Promoting regional economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustaianbility in the collaborative economy Marthe Nyssens Ela Callorda 2017 2021

Project Description

This project will conduct a comparative and systematic assessment of advantages and disadvantages of organisational and business models of the collaborative economy in the Region of Brussels-Capital in three specific sectors: mobility, housing and food. The project is a collaboration between 3 Belgian universities (UCLouvain, StLouis and Odisee-KUL).

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End
INNOVIRIS Appréhender la performance sociale dans les entreprises sociales: Mesures d'impact et impact des mesures Marthe Nyssens
Anaïs Périlleux
Coralie Hellepute 2019 2023

Project Description

This project is part of the partnership between CIRTES and the social enterprise Les “Petits Riens”. It aims to develop a transdisciplinary research approach linking scientific knowledge issues and societal challenges, regarding the implementation of social performance indicators in social enterprises. This question is at the heart of scientific and social debates, and raises many controversies. The aim is to deepen, beyond discourse, but based of a concrete and long-term experience, the knowledge on the conditions for implementing social performance measures in a multidimensional approach that takes into account the different political, organizational, epistemological and methodological issues.

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End
Chaires “Les Petits Riens” L'économie sociale au service de la lutte contre la pauvreté Marthe Nyssens
Anaïs Périlleux
  2015 2020

Project Description

The aim of this project is twofold: to shed some light, through scientific research, on the complexity of the social economy and to provide tools to promote the social and environmental sustainability of enterprises. Les Petits Riens collects, selects and sells second hand clothes. Although less well known it also implements a wide range of social actions. Indeed, among others, Les Petits Riens host and support more than 300 homeless people every year. Engaged in this Chaire, this social enterprise has chosen a scientific approach to formalize and improve its actions and to share the knowledge acquired during more than 75 years of activity. It believes, indeed, that changing the way enterprises are organized from a social, economic and environmental perspective is a key factor to tackle poverty and exclusion. Every year the Chaire will choose a different topic relevant for both social enterprises and the academic researchers in the field. This first year, it will investigate the issues and the complexity of social impact measurement. This topic is crucial for social enterprises as they face an increasing pressure from public bodies and private investors in order to prove their social impact. It is also a relevant subject for academic research as social impact measurement raises important theoretical and methodological questions.

Chaire’s Webpage:

Sponsor Project Title IRES Promoters IRES Researchers Beginning End

Platform regulation and operations in the sharing economy

Anaïs Périlleux   2019 2023

Project Description

In recent years, many innovative sharing economy platforms (SEPs) had a strong impact on their stakeholders: service providers and consumers alike. Platforms change the economy: individuals renting out rooms or driving cars create competition for established hospitality and transport providers (as evidenced by the protests of taxi drivers in cities where Uber operates). SEPs also impact society as a whole: they prompt change in how people plan, travel, meet and eat. Their operation can modify social and economic environment in entire communities (think of Airbnb’s effects on cities’ housing markets and quality of life).

The sharing economy is not only a land of promises but also of great perils. Even fast- growing and global for-pro t platforms like Uber are still struggling to make a pro t, while the failure rate of startups is higher than in other sectors. Also, many non-pro t SEPs fail to stay active. For both types of platforms, the road to success is paved with a number of economic, legal and operational challenges, which directly stem from their innovative business model.

These multifaceted challenges motivate our overarching research question: How can platforms in the sharing economy deliver long-lasting value for their stakeholders and for society as a whole?

Answering this question calls for a truly interdisciplinary approach. Researchers in economics, law and operations worked on SEPs before, but the goal of this research project is to go beyond the intra-disciplinary tunnel vision and foster cooperation between researchers from these disciplines. Our objective with this research project is thus to conduct a ne-grained analysis of the implications of the sharing economy, combining researchers from economics, law and operations.


Journal Articles

1. Degavre, Florence; Lemaître, Andreia; Nyssens, Marthe; Defourny, Jacques. L'économie sociale, un moteur pour la transition sociale et écologique ?. In: Sociétés en changement, , no.8, p. 1-8 (2020).

2. Brolis, Olivier; Nyssens, Marthe. Does the Mission of an Organization Affect the Quality of Low-Skilled Jobs in Quasi-markets?: A Comparison Between Social Enterprises and For-Profit Organizations. In: VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, Vol. 31, no. 3, p. 533-549 (2020). doi:10.1007/s11266-019-00164-x (Accepté/Sous presse).

3. Lambert, Louise; Dedeurwaerdere, Tom; Nyssens, Marthe; Brolis, Olivier. Unpacking the organisational diversity within the collaborative economy: The contribution of an analytical framework from social enterprise theory. In: Ecological Economics, Vol. 164, p. 1-9 (2019). doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.05.023.

4. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. La diversité des modèles d’entreprise sociale : nouvelles dynamiques au cœur et aux confins de l’économie sociale. In: Marché et organisations, , no.36, p. 17-38 (2019). doi:10.3917/maorg.036.0017.

5. Le Polain, Maïté; Sterck, Olivier; Nyssens, Marthe. Interest Rates in Savings Groups: Thrift or Threat?. In: World Development, Vol. 101, p. 162-172 (2018). doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.09.001.

6. Brolis, Olivier; Courtois, Marie; Herman, Ginette; Nyssens, Marthe. Do Social Enterprises Discriminate less than For-Profit Organizations? The Influence of Sector and Diversity Policies on Managers’ Prejudice towards Immigrants. In: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 47, no. 4, p. 745-766 (August 2018).

7. Cassiers, Isabelle. La croissance, une addiction ?. In: Revue Projet, , p. 18-23 (2018).

8. Cassiers, Isabelle; Vanderborght, Yannick; Nahapétian, Naïri. Explorer de nouveaux modes de vie. In: Alternatives Economiques - Les dossiers, , no.10, p. 28-30 (Juin 2017).

9. Nyssens, Marthe; Defourny, Jacques. Fundamentals for an International Typology of Social Enterprise Models. In: Voluntas : international journal of voluntary and non-profit organizations, Vol. 28, no. 6, p. 2469-2497 (2017). doi:10.1007/s11266-017-9884-7.

10. Callorda Fossati, Ela; Degavre, Florence; Nyssens, Marthe. How to deal with an" essentially contested concept" on the field? Sampling social innovations through the Delphi method. In: European Public & Social Innovation Review, Vol. 2, p. 45-58 (2017).

11. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. Mapping Social Enterprise Models: Some Evidence from the “ICSEM” Project. In: Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 13, no. 4, p. 318-328 (2017). doi:10.1108/SEJ-09-2017-0049.

12. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. Entreprises sociales : des promesses et des défis. In: Démocratie, , no.9, p. 5-9 (2017).

13. Cassiers, Isabelle; Marechal, Kevin; Méda, Dominique. 10 thèses pour progresser vers une société de la post-croissance. In: L'Obs, (Avril 2017).

14. Dupont, Elise; Fagnart, Jean-François; Germain, Marc; Jeanmart, Hervé; Possoz, Louis. Transition énergétique et (dé)croissance économique. In: Regards Economiques, Vol. Novembre 2017, no. 135, p. 1-26 (2017).

15. Perilleux, Anaïs; Nyssens, Marthe. Understanding Cooperative Finance as a New Common. In: Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Vol. 87, no. 3, p. 155-177 (2017). doi:10.1111/apce.12160.

16. Nyssens, Marthe; Veronese, Marília Veríssimo. Comparación internacional de modelos de empresas de economía social y Solidaria. In: Ciencias Sociais Unisinos, Vol. 52, no.3, p. 278-372 (2016).

17. Thiry, Géraldine; Roman, Philippe. L’indice de richesse inclusive : l’économie mainstream au-delà de ses limites, mais en deçà de la soutenabilité ?. In: L’indice de richesse inclusive : l’économie mainstream au-delà de ses limites, mais en deçà de la soutenabilité ?, Vol. 16, no.1, p. 235-257 (2016). doi:10.3917/rfse.016.0235.

18. Cooney, Kate; Nyssens, Marthe; O'Shaughnessy, Mary; Defourny, Jacques. Public Policies and Work Integration Social Enterprises: The Challenge of Institutionalization in a Neoliberal Era. In: Nonprofit Policy Forum, Vol. 7, no. 4, p. 435-460 (2016). doi:10.1515/npf-2016-0028.

19. Hiller, Victor; Baudin, Thomas. Cultural transmission and the evolution of gender roles. In: Mathematical Social Sciences, Vol. 84, p. 8-23 (2016). doi:10.1016/j.mathsocsci.2016.08.002.

20. Cassiers, Isabelle. Qu’est-ce qui compte, et qui est habilité à le définir ?. In: Sources : Pour une vie reliée, , no.35, p. 78-80 (Juillet - Août 2016).

21. Cassiers, Isabelle. Le Bhoutan nous interpelle : bonheur national brut et nouveau paradigme de développement. In: Mille Lieux, , no.01, p. 40-43 (Avril 2016).

22. Defourny, Jacques; Grønbjerg, Kirsten; Meijs, Lucas; Nyssens, Marthe. Voluntas Symposium: Comments on Salamon and Sokolowski’s Re-conceptualization of the Third Sector. In: Voluntas : international journal of voluntary and non-profit organizations, Vol. 27, no. 4, p. 1546-1561 (August 2016). doi:10.1007/s11266-016-9743-y.

23. Bidet, Eric; Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. Entreprise sociale et économie sociale en Asie(première partie). In: Revue internationale de l'économie sociale : Recma, , no.341, p. 22-25 (Juillet 2016). doi:10.7202/1037434ar.

24. Nyssens, Marthe. Innovation sociale et entreprise sociale : quels dialogues possibles ? Une perspective européenne. In: Annales méditerranéennes d'économie, , no.4 (Octobre 2016).

25. Bidet, Eric; Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. Entreprise sociale et économie sociale en Asie (deuxième partie). In: Revue internationale de l'économie sociale : Recma, Vol. 95, p. 19-20 (2016).

26. Nyssens, Marthe. L’émergence des quasi-marchés : une mise à l’épreuve des relations pouvoirs publics - associations. In: Les politiques sociales, Vol. 75, no. 1&2, p. 32-51 (2015).

27. Nyssens, Marthe; Petrella, Francesca. Economie sociale et solidaire et ressources communes: vers la reconnaissance d’une diversité institutionnelle. In: Revue Française de Socio-Economie, Vol. 15, no. 1, p. 117-136 (2015). doi:10.3917/rfse.015.0117.

Book Chapters

1. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe; Brolis, Olivier. Asian Social Enterprise Models in a Worldwide Perspective. In: Social Enterprise in Asia: Theory, Models and Practice (Routledge Studies in Social Enterprise & Social Innovation; xxx), Routledge: Abingdon, 2019. 9780367211592.

2. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. La diversité des modèles d'entreprise sociale: nouvelles dynamiques au coeur et aux confins de l'économie sociale. In: Les enjeux de l'innovation: quelles politiques? Quelles gouvernances? : Actes du 22e Congrès des économistes belges de langue fr (Actes du Congrès des économistes belges de langue française; xxx), université Ouverte: Charleroi, 2017, p. 1-19.

3. Le Polain, Maïté; Nyssens, Marthe. Les logiques socioéconomiques sous-jacentes aux stratégies de protection des acteurs populaires au Sud Kivu. In: Conjoncture Congolaise 2016 : Glissement politique, recul économique (Cahiers africains; xxx), L'Harmattan: Paris, 2017, p. 124-147. 972-2-343-12021-8.

4. Cassiers, Isabelle; Marechal, Kevin. The Economy in a Post-growth Era: What Project and What Philosophy?. In: Post-growth Economics and Society : Exploring the Paths of a Social and Ecological Transition (Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics; xxx), Routledge: Abingdon, 2017, p. 1-12. 9781138503274.

5. Cassiers, Isabelle; Marechal, Kevin. L’économie dans une ère post-croissance: quel projet, quelle pensée ?. In: Vers une société post-croissance : intégrer les défis écologiques, économiques et sociaux (Bibliothèques des savoirs; xxx), éditions de l'Aube: La Tour d'Aigues, 2017, p. 7-27. 978-2-8159-2105-3.

6. Cassiers, Isabelle; De Bouver, Emeline. Pour une recherche incarnée. In: Profession : Savanturier - L'aventure au coin de la science (Cordouan; xxx), Presses Universitaires de Louvain: Louvain-la-Neuve, 2016, p. 151-158. 978-2-87558-484-7.

7. Cassiers, Isabelle. Le Bhoutan nous interpelle : bonheur national brut et nouveau paradigme de développement. In: L'âge de la transition. En route pour la reconversion écologique , Les Petits Matins: Paris, 2016, p. 234-237. 978-2363832214.

8. Brolis, Olivier; Nyssens, Marthe. Le quasi-marché des titres-services : Qualité d’emploi, motivation au travail et diversité des prestataires,. In: Quelle qualité d'emploi dans les services d'aide-ménagère ? Une approche multidisciplinaire (Cahiers du CIRTES; xxx), Presses universitaires de Louvain: Louvain-la-Neuve, 2016, p. 17-73. 9782875584540.

9. Cassiers, Isabelle; Thiry, Géraldine. Indicateurs et modes de vie durables. In: Les nouveaux modes de vie durables. S'engager autrement (Documents; xxx), Éditions Le Bord de l'Eau: Lormont, 2016. 978-2-35687-442-9.

10. Cassiers, Isabelle. La croissance économique est-ce toujours bien?. In: Théorie économique et problème du monde : Pour enfin comprendre des idées qui façonnent la vie des gens , Ile de Paix: Huy, 2016, p. 167-168.

11. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe; Thys, Séverine. Venture philanthropy: When philanthropy meets social entrepreneurship. In: The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy (Routledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting; xxx), Routledge: London, 2016, p. 348-361. 9780415783255.

12. Cassiers, Isabelle; Thiry, Géraldine. Des indicateurs pour des modes de vie durables. In: La nouvelle géographie du développement (La Muette; xxx), Le Bord de l'eau: Bruxelles : Lormont, 2016, p. 187-195. 978-2-35687-469-6.

13. Nyssens, Marthe; Petrella, Francesca. The Social and Solidarity Economy and Ostrom’s approach to common pool resources: Towards a better understanding of institutional diversity?. In: Civil Society, the Third Sector and Social Enterprise : Governance and Democracy (Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy; xxx), Routledge: Oxford, 2015, 178 -190. 978-1-13-801331-5.

14. Nyssens, Marthe. Innovation sociale et entreprise sociale: quels dialogues possibles ? Une perspective européenne. In: La transformation sociale pas l'innovation sociale (Innovation Sociale; xxx), Presses de l'Université du Québec: Québec, 2015, 335-348. 978-2-7605-4387-4.

15. Le Polain, Maïté. L'argent ne tombe pas du ciel, sauf à Bukavu. Perceptions de l'argent de l'aide. In: L'Afrique des Grands Lacs, Annuaire 2014-2015 , xxx: Antwerp, 2015. 9789057184536.

16. Thiry, Géraldine. Le pouvoir des instruments comptables : enjeux d'un nouveau modèle de développement.. In: Entre Culture et Management. Essais sur la dimension culturelle du management. , xxx, 2015.

17. Cassiers, Isabelle. Prospérité sans croissance (Jackson, Tim). In: Dictionnaire de la pensée écologique (Quadrige dicos poche; xxx), PUF: Paris, 2015, p. 835-837. 978-2-13-058696-8.

Working Papers

1. Malay, Olivier. How to articulate beyond GDP and businesses’ social and environmental indicators? (xxx), 2020. 35 p.


1. Gaiger, Luiz Inácio; Nyssens, Marthe; Wanderley, Fernanda. Social Enterprise in Latin America : Theory; Models and Practice. Routledge: Abingdon, 2019. 9780367151195. 330 pages.

2. Cassiers, Isabelle; Marechal, Kevin; Méda, Dominique. Post-growth Economics and Society: Exploring the Paths of a Social and Ecological Transition. Routledge: Abingdon, 2017. 9781138503274. 112 pages.

3. Mertens de Wilmars, Sibille; Nyssens, Marthe. Commission 4 : Innovation sociale, entrepreneuriat social et économie sociale. Université Ouverte: Charleroi, 2017.pages.

4. Cassiers, Isabelle; Marechal, Kevin; Méda, Dominique. Vers une société post-croissance: Intégrer les défis écologiques, économiques et sociaux. Éditions de L'Aube: La Tour d'Aigues, 2017. 978-2-8159-2105-3. 224 pages.

5. Defourny, Jacques; Nyssens, Marthe. Economie sociale et solidaire : Socioéconomie du 3e secteur. De Boeck: Louvain-la-Neuve, 2017. 9782804183028. 496 pages.

6. Herman, Ginette; Desmette, Donatienne; Léonard, Evelyne; Nyssens, Marthe. Quelle qualité d'emploi dans les services d'aide-ménagère ? Une approche multidisciplinaire. Presses universitaires de Louvain: Louvain-la-Neuve, 2016. 9782875584540. 200 pages.