Despite the growing attention to social entrepreneurship as a scholarly field of research, it is still in a stage of infancy. Research in the past two decades has been primarily dedicated to establishing a conceptual foundation, which has resulted in a considerable stream of conceptual papers. Empirical articles have gradually appeared since the turn of the century. Although they are still outnumbered by conceptual articles, empirical articles are of considerable significance for the evolution of social entrepreneurship as a field of scientific inquiry. The purpose of this paper is to gauge the current state of empirical research by reviewing 31 empirical research studies on social entrepreneurship, classifying them along four dimensions and summarising research findings for each of these dimensions. To serve this purpose in a meaningful fashion requires discriminating between different perspectives on social entrepreneurship. Hence, a conceptual overview with four different schools of thought is presented, and the articles in our sample are analysed accordingly.

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Keywords definition, empirical research, school of thought, social entrepreneurship
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal International Review of Entrepreneurship
Hoogendoorn, B, Pennings, H.P.G, & Thurik, A.R. (2010). What Do We Know About Social Entrepreneurship? An Analysis of Empirical Research. International Review of Entrepreneurship, 8(2), 71–112. Retrieved from