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A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship

55 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2010  

Date Written: February 15, 2010


I propose a theory aimed at advancing scholarly research in social entrepreneurship. By highlighting the key trade-off between value creation and value appropriation and explaining when situations of simultaneous market and government failure may arise, I suggest that social entrepreneurship is the pursuit of sustainable solutions to problems of neglected positive externalities. I further discuss when positive externalities are likely to be neglected and derive the central goal and logic of action of social entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Empowerment, Economic Externalities, Theory Development, Economic Organization, Institutional Economics, Public Policy

Suggested Citation

Santos, Filipe M., A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship (February 15, 2010). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2009/23/EFE/INSEAD Social Innovation Centre . Available at SSRN: or

Filipe M. Santos (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex

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