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Organizational structure, redistribution and the endogeneity of cost: Cooperatives, investor-owned firms and the cost of procurement

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  • Bontems, Philippe
  • Fulton, Murray

Abstract

As an organizational type, cooperatives are in general not the dominant form of enterprise. Nevertheless, cooperatives and cooperative-like organizations do play important roles in a number of sectors, suggesting that in some circumstances they are more efficient than other business forms. This paper explores the importance of membership goals on the relative efficiency of the cooperative form of organization. The cooperative cost (and hence production efficiency) advantage is directly linked to the goal alignment between the cooperative and its members, and is influenced by the extent of income redistribution between members and the degree of rent seeking that takes place in the organization. When there is no aversion to income inequality, the members produce at their first best levels. However, as aversion to inequality rises, the production profile of the members converges to the production profile generated when the members face an IOF. Regarding rent seeking, if the more (less) efficient members are able to get their profits valued more, total output is increased (decreased). As a consequence, consumers may benefit from the lobbying that occurs inside a cooperative where the powerful members are the most efficient agents.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 322-343

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:322-343

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Asymmetric information Cooperatives Investor-owned firms Redistribution Rent-seeking;

References

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Cited by:
  1. Tschöpel, Michael, 2012. "Die Wirkungskanäle der genossenschaftlichen Eigentümermerkmale: Implikationen für das mitgliederorientierte Management in Genossenschaftsbanken," Arbeitspapiere 127, Westfälsche Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU), Institut für Genossenschaftswesen.
  2. Maxime Agbo & Damien Rousselière & Julien Salanié, 2013. "A Theory of Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives with Direct selling," Working Papers halshs-00906894, HAL.
  3. Feng, L. & Hendrikse, G.W.J., 2011. "Chain Interdependencies, Measurement Problems, and Efficient Governance Structure: Cooperatives versus Publicly Listed Firms," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2011-001-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.

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