TSI Working Paper No. 12: Size and scope of the third sector in Europe

Year of publication
Third Sector Impact

The following conclusions emerged from this initial overview of the size and contours of the Third Sector in EU member countries:

  1. In the first place, it is possible to formulate a coherent, systematic, and operational cross-national definition of this sector that can be utilized to assemble empirical description of this sector.
  2. Despite limitations in the available data systems, it is possible to compile a crossnationally comparable quantitative data on the basic dimensions of the Third Sector. 3. An initial effort to generate such data reveals a Third sector that is far more widely dispersed and far larger than commonly recognized, ranking as one of the largest employers and contributors to economic life of all major industries, and providing as well vehicles for the expression of a host of values and interests that add enormously to the quality of national life.
  3. Although this sector is quite widespread and extensive in the aggregate, it also exhibits enormous variations from country to country. These variations go well beyond the simple dimensions of size and economic impact and encompass functions these institutions perform, and how they support themselves.
Read online