International Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy (CIRIEC)






CIRIEC is anon-governmental international scientific organization. Its objectives are to undertake and promote the collection of information, scientific research, and the publication of works on economic sectors and activities oriented towards the service of the general and collective interest:

  • action by the State and the local and regional public authorities in economic fields(economic policy, regulation);
  • the social economy (not-for-profit economy, cooperatives, mutuals, and non-profit organizations);
  • public utilities;
  • public and mixed enterprises at the national, regional and municipal levels; etc.

In these fields CIRIEC develops activities of interest for both managers and researchers, serving as a platform for the exchange of information and experience, and seeking for mutual enrichment. CIRIEC’s main feature of research is its cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary character.

Since the mid-1980’s CIRIEC developed dedicated research in the field of social and cooperative economy, in particular on:

  • the concepts and definitions in and around social and cooperative economy and their enterprises and organisations, as well as on statutes and principles;
  • mapping the social economy sector, by measuring its scope and weight through various methodologies, including satellite accounts;
  • evaluation methods and indicators of enterprises within the social and cooperative economy sector;
  • measuring its impact to job creation and local foothold, to social inclusion/integration, to economic and territorial cohesion and to other public policy objectives, as for instance the responses of social economy to the crisis of the Welfare State, and more globally to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • governance and management of social economy enterprises and cooperatives;
  • public policies for and about the social economy sector;
  • its contribution to general policy aims of general interest that constitute a continuum to the own goals set by the social economy.

Further, CIRIEC has a long standing strategic watch activity, and developed an ad hoc collaborative multilingual knowledge platform AGORA of the general interest and social economy ( CIRIEC’s studies ( have not only compared the capacity of the social economy to generate new opportunities for society and to contribute to the achievement of many general interest objectives, they have also recognised the social economy sector as being one which puts people first.

To pursue discussion, CIRIEC set up in 2007 a big forum, organised every odd year,for persons involved in research in the social economy ( CIRIEC counts national sections and collective members on various continents and has also an important research network of some 750 experts in public, social and cooperative economy ( CIRIEC also strives to develop international institutional partnerships with organisations following the same overall goal of serving the general and collective interest.


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