Patsy Kraeger, Ph.D.
Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series, we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.
“The impact of new technologies is invariably misjudged because we measure the future with yardsticks from the past.” - Stephen Baker, a technology journalist in a recent NY Times Blog.
Last year I wrote a Research Friday blog post that considered the impact of civic engagement on the economy. I discussed research that found a correlation between civic engagement and the unemployment rate. Although the findings were not conclusive, in states where civic engagement did not decline, employment rates were more resilient and stable.
The term social economy is used more in Canada, Europe and Latin America. The term captures economic growth as inclusive of both commercial and non-commercial activities, including paid and unpaid work. Increasingly, policy and social change has been studied through the lens of the social economy, and there is now a developed scholarly literature in this field (much of it through the European Research Network).
But what is the social economy in the American context? Who is discussing the social economy outside of academic networks? Is the social economy just another buzzword or a new paradigm?
Dr. Lucy Bernholz, in a report coproduced by Grantcraft, Stanford PACS and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, titled Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint for 2013 (hereafter, “the Blueprint”) challenges readers to think about a new paradigm which looks at all “private resources for public good” (p.2), instead of just private charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations. This is an important step in developing a new language and dialogue that shifts away from the “philanthropic-nonprofit” paradigm (p.2). This is exciting!