“Economic and Capital Structure of Italian Social Enterprises: Results of a multizonal quantitative study on financial statements” di Guido Migliaccio e Pietro Pavone


For some years now, and especially in recent months, the daily news has talked and written about sustainability. It refers to the topic known by the authors of business economics as CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. The theme is complex because it involves ethical, social and relational problems beyond the more typically economic and financial ones. In particular, in Italy, this topic is the subject of debate, considering the recent “third sector” reform, which includes “social enterprises”, regulated by specific legislation.

These companies can be analyzed according to different perspectives. The perspective certainly inherent in this juridical form is the social aspect that requires a specific value and managerial approach. However, the social purpose does not exclude the absolute necessity of correct economic, capital and financial balances, which are condition for durability.

This paper presents the results of a comparative spatial and temporal analysis of the economic dynamics and capital and financial structure taken from the balance-sheets of 558 Italian social enterprises operating in different production segments, distinguishing them on the basis of geographical location (North, Center and South of the country). 

The trend of Roe – Return on equity (%), Roi – Return on investments (%), Ros – Return on sales (%),  financial independence index (%), current ratio and fixed assets coverage index (%) for ten consecutive years (2009-2018) was analyzed, also carrying out the Anova and post-Anova test.

Profitability is good, despite some zonal differences and a heterogeneous trend in the decade in question. The judgment is even better regarding the social benefits of this type of companies which, however, are not the subject of this study.

Instead, the degree of capitalization is relatively modest which, consequently, means a significant debt. Generally, the assessments relating to the patrimonial area are lower than an optimal abstract value, with some territorial differences. Equity is normally insufficient to cover fixed assets, even if the values are relatively acceptable.

The paper is original in the methodology often not considered by authors, which are more focused on the effects of social purposes on management and organization.

The findings are useful to Italian entrepreneurs and government authorities. In the future, the research will also have to evaluate the economic and income balances in order to be able to offer an exhaustive picture. It will also have to consider the effects of the recent reform of the Italian legislation which may affect the capital and economic structures.

Ref. Migliaccio, G., & Pavone, P. (2020). Economic and capital structure of Italian social enterprises: Results of a multizonal quantitative study on financial statements. In Garzella S. (Ed.) Corporate Social Responsibility. Theoretical analysis and practical implications, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2020

Url: https://www.francoangeli.it/Ricerca/scheda_libro.aspx?Id=26523