Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), Erasmus University Rotterdam (ERIM is the joint researchinstitute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam)
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 in the field 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, four different schools of thought are presented, and the articles in our sample are classified accordingly.