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New evidence on wages and employment in worker cooperatives compared with capitalist firms

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  • Burdín, Gabriel
  • Dean, Andrés

Abstract

This article presents new econometric evidence on the comparative behavior of worker cooperatives and capitalist firms, highlighting the differences in wages and employment responses. We use a comprehensive panel data set that covers the entire population of cooperatives and their capitalist counterparts registered in the social security records in Uruguay from April 1996 to December 2005. We analyze the data to study the employment and wage decisions in both types of enterprises, the results of which suggests that their adjustment mechanisms to idiosyncratic price changes and macroeconomic shocks may differ greatly. The data set also allows us to estimate wage and employment variations for members and non-members of cooperatives separately, and provides an empirical test for the so-called degeneration hypothesis. Our findings are broadly consistent with previous studies for Italian cooperatives and plywood cooperatives in the United States. As studies of this kind are so few, our research provides a significant contribution to the empirical literature on labor managed firms. Moreover, comparing worker cooperatives and capitalist firms offers an exceptional opportunity to determine how control by workers may lead to different organizational behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 517-533

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:37:y:2009:i:4:p:517-533

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

Related research

Keywords: Capitalist firms Worker cooperatives Employment Wages;

References

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  1. Dow,Gregory K., 2003. "Governing the Firm," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521522212, December.
  2. Dow, Gregory K. & Putterman, Louis, 2000. "Why capital suppliers (usually) hire workers: what we know and what we need to know," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 319-336, November.
  3. Berman, Katrina V. & Berman, Matthew D., 1989. "An empirical test of the theory of the labor-managed firm," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-300, June.
  4. Gabriel Burdín & Andrés Dean, 2008. "Los objetivos de una empresa gestionada por sus trabajadores : un análisis sobre el caso uruguayo," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 08-10, Instituto de Economia - IECON.
  5. Kahana, Nava & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1989. "More on alternative objectives of labor-managed firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 527-538, December.
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  7. Ben-Ner, A. & Montias, J.M. & Neuberger, E., 1993. "Basic Issues in Organizations: A Comparative Perspective," Papers 93-01, Minnesota - Industrial Relations Center.
  8. Pencavel, John & Pistaferri, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2006. "Wages, Employment, and Capital in Capitalist and Worker-Owned Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 2188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Ben-Ner, Avner & Jun, Byoung, 1996. "Employee Buyout in a Bargaining Game with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 502-23, June.
  10. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  11. Gregory K. Dow, 2000. "Allocating Control Over Firms: Stock Markets Versus Membership Markets," Discussion Papers dp00-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, revised Feb 2000.
  12. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Why are Worker Cooperatives So Rare?," NBER Working Papers 6118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Craig Ben & Pencavel John, 1993. "The Objectives of Worker Cooperatives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 288-308, June.
  14. Manuel Arellano & Olympia Bover, 1990. "La econometría de datos de panel," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 14(1), pages 3-45, January.
  15. Adriana Cassoni, 2000. "Trade unions in Uruguay: some historical features explaining their economic role," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0400, Department of Economics - dECON.
  16. Steinherr, A. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "Are labor-managers really perverse?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 137-142.
  17. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "Social Capital and Community Governance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 419-436, November.
  18. Dow, Gregory K., 1986. "Control rights, competitive markets, and the labor management debate," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 48-61, March.
  19. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  20. Miyazaki, Hajime, 1984. "On Success and Dissolution of the Labor-Managed Firm in the Capitalist Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 909-31, October.
  21. Ben-ner, Avner, 1984. "On the stability of the cooperative type of organization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 247-260, September.
  22. Will Bartlett & Saul Estrin & John Cable & Stephen Smith, 1992. "Labor-managed cooperatives and private firms in north central Italy: An empirical comparison," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 103-118, October.
  23. Putterman, Louis, 1984. "On Some Recent Explanations of Why Capital Hires Labor," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 171-87, April.
  24. repec:fth:repuec:4/00 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Bonin, John P & Jones, Derek C & Putterman, Louis, 1993. "Theoretical and Empirical Studies of Producer Cooperatives: Will Ever the Twain Meet?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1290-320, September.
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