The paper aims to describe the main characteristics of CBCs, and to highlight their outcomes in economics and social terms. The data, referring to year 2016, originates from the aida database of Bureau van Dijk. However, the sample construction took a number of steps: 1) interviews with privileged witnesses, 2) web search, 3) aida database interrogation; selection of the cooperative enterprises and checking their features, and 4) final database implementation. Our sample, consisting of 32 observations, has been segmented by means of a cluster analysis, with the aim of subdividing the CBCs in homogeneous groups on the basis of the variables under consideration. The results show that CBCs may contribute to prevent inner areas decline, mainly by the provision of essential services to the whole community; this is a benefit created by means of business activity and the participation of its members to its management. Nevertheless, the results also show a limited ability of CBCs to make investments on the areas in which they operate. As a consequence, CBCs have a low employment capacity. In every case, uncertainty on the real CBCs number and the limited sample size do not allow for a generalisation of these results.
Keywords: Cooperative; community; inner areas; social innovation; services.
Jel Code: Q13, Q18, L14