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Profit with purpose? A theory of social enterprise

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  • Besley, Timothy
  • Ghatak, Maitreesh

Abstract

When social benefits cannot be measured, an organization that selects managers based on pro-social motivation can be used to balance profits with a social purpose. This paper develops a model of social enterprise based on selection of citizen-managers to run firms with flexible missions. We analyze organizational choice between social enterprise, for-profits, and non-profits. The paper also develops the implications of matching between founders and managers based on their preferences for the mission.

Suggested Citation

  • Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2017. "Profit with purpose? A theory of social enterprise," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68572, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:68572
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fehrler, Sebastian & Kosfeld, Michael, 2014. "Pro-social missions and worker motivation: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 99-110.
    2. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
    3. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    4. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    5. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín A. Rossi, 2013. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1169-1218.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2007. "Retailing public goods: The economics of corporate social responsibility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1645-1663, September.
    7. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2010. "Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 1-19, January.
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    9. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2010. "Disentangling the sources of pro-socially motivated effort: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1086-1092, December.
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    1. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:2:p:356-371 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2017. "Public–private partnerships for the provision of public goods: Theory and an application to NGOs," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 356-371.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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