This paper deals with the role of social enterprises in the new development policy for the southern italian regions, the so-called Mezzogiorno of Italy. First, we investigate the quantitative and qualititive relevant aspects of social enterprises in Italy. Secondly, we use the framework of the capability approach to discuss the arguments in favour of the italian social co-operative enterprises as a tool for improving human development. Third, we consider some case studies to see in what extent it is possible to replicate in the Mezzogiorno successfull models of social enterprise operating in the more affluent northern italian regions. The last section is devoted to analyse the case of Campania as a benchmark for the current state of welfare and development policies, both at national and local level, in the southern regions of Italy.
Jel Code: H75, L31, O15