In Research


Year: 2020
Published in: Sustainability
Cited as: Fernández-Laviada, A., C. López-Gutiérrez and A. Pérez (2020). “How Does the Development of the Social Enterprise Sector Affect Entrepreneurial Behavior? An Empirical Analysis.” Sustainability 12(3):


Research on social entrepreneurship (SE) has increased exponentially during the past decade. Even though this social phenomenon has aroused the interest of researchers, many aspects have not yet been fully studied. In this study, the goal is to analyze how the factors that define the behavior of social entrepreneurs are affected by the perception that they have about the development of the social enterprise sector (SES development). We perform an empirical multivariable analysis using 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data related to SE, with an international sample that contains information of 17,778 entrepreneurs, of which 6470 are social entrepreneurs. The empirical analysis is carried out applying binary response models, introducing interaction terms to analyze the moderating effect of SES development. Our results show that the entrepreneurs’ perception of the SES development exerts a moderating effect over three different groups of factors: 1) factors related to self-perception about entrepreneurship (including values, perceptions, and entrepreneurial skills); 2) demographic factors (gender, age, and education level), and 3) context and entrepreneurial environment (including factors related to entrepreneurs’ perception of societal values, entrepreneurship environment, and economic development). This moderating effect has very important implications, especially for policymakers. Our results show that SES development could amplify some effects, both positively and negatively. Therefore, the design and implementation of policies to support SE must consider the moderating role of this variable on the entrepreneurial behavior, because it could affect the effectiveness of such policies

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Recommendations from this resource

Future Research

1. Since there are different types of social entrepreneurs, with greater or lower market orientation and the achievement of social objectives, it would be interesting to analyze the effect that the social enterprise sector development has based on the type of social entrepreneur affected.

2. Moreover, it would be interesting to see if the effect of the variable “”trust matter”” is the same in social enterprises.

Policy Makers

1. Design and implementation of policies to support SE must consider the differential effect (e.g. factors related to self-perception about entrepreneurship, demographic factors and context and entrepreneurial environment) depending on the development of businesses focused on the solution of social problems in the country where they are applied.

2. For lower social enterprise sector development, policies of awareness and promotion of social entrepreneurship could be more effective when they are focused on women and elder people.

3. However, in the case of higher social enterprise sector development, the effectiveness of these policies could be improved if they are focused on people with at least a secondary educational level.