Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Main aim of the NETS project has been to identify the contribution to social integration and employment creation in Europe which may come from what is called "third sector", nonprofit, socially useful, activities also known as "third system" or "social economy". Their job creation potential and their ability to address new needs have been assessed, and alternative policy actions have been evaluated, considering their economic efficiency and effectiveness, and the impact on social integration.
First steps have envisaged an analysis of the scientific literature concerning theories, classifications, surveys on the third sector and its relations with employment, and an overview of national policies impacting on the third sector in Europe. Specific attention have been paid to the countries under study (Germany, Italy, Spain). Main finding of this phase has been the adoption of a new definition of Third Sector. Starting from the approach of the Johns Hopkins University, the structural/operational definition, and integrating it with two further criteria (democracy and social utility) a definition more coherent with the European context - in terms of welfare state and social policy traditions - has been developed.

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