In Research


Year: 2019
Published in: SSRN Electronic Journal
Cited as: Sena, Santiago and Pasquini, Ricardo, What Causes Social Entrepreneurship? Emancipation as an Explanatory Framework (June 6, 2019). Available at SSRN: or


What causes the emergence of social entrepreneurship at a societal level? This paper proposes that emancipatory theory (Welzel, 2013) provides an adequate theoretical framework in which to comprehensively understand the emergence of social entrepreneurship as an emancipatory phenomenon (Rindova et al., 2009). We first theoretically identify the elements of the human empowerment process (action resources, emancipative values and civic entitlements, in this sequence) that drive the emergence of social entrepreneurship. Second, we empirically test our propositions by explaining GEM’s SE rate in a panel of countries for the years 2009 and 2015. Our empirical results confirm the relevance of the main elements proposed by our theory.