Samuel Barco Serrano


At the international level, Spain is considered a success story in collaboration between public authorities and the social economy. The nature of these relationships reflects several factors: the nature of political culture,  path dependency, social and economic importance of the social economy, ways of structuring representation, notoriety, the perception of the utility of these types of enterprises by public and private actors , the organisation of public space and the quality of public debate, the party system and the priority they grant to the social economy in their political agenda, and, finally, the importance of the four levels of government- European supra-state, national, regional and municipal.

Our hypothesis affirms that the impact of the social economy on the design of policies and in their implementation has reached a very high level in our country, especially in some of its regions, such as Andalousia and part of the Basque region, due to a synchronization of favorable elements in each of the categories above.

In the Spanish case, there are political policies supporting the social economy, which present a vast range and diversity of measures including highly sophisticated and innovative ones. The paper indicates some of the main success factors that emerged from the research: the importance of process; the adaptation of the culture of the sub-system; the process of co-construction of the social economy’s identity; its structuring; the organization of public space (the decentralised State); historical inertia (path dependency). The role of the Framework Law of the Social Economy, that enshrines philosophical concepts in legal forms and the importance of participation of representatives of the social economy in formal and informal forums are also highlighted.


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Social Economy; Spain; Public Policies

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