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The accumulation of Capital in Labour-Managed Firms: Divisible Reserves and Bonds

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  • Tortia, Ermanno

    ()
    (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)

Abstract

The problem of the accumulation of capital in labor-managed firms and worker cooperatives has being attracting considerable attention among researchers. The Furubotn-Pejovich effect is considered to be the source of undercapitalization. The paper seeks to show that the presence of undercapitalization is due to a specific form of reinvestment, i.e. the reinvestment of selffinanced capital funds in indivisible reserves. The introduction of divisible reserves appropriable by worker-members at some point in time would be a valid measure with which to counteract the horizon problem and undercapitalization. However, in the formulation given to it by this paper, it engenders less widely-explored problems connected with the way in which net surpluses are distributed and reinvested, and with the reimbursement of individual capital quotas. When divisible reserves are present, cooperative bonds can be introduced to deal with the shortcomings due to capital variability and allow a better match to be achieved between the members' and the firms objectives. Members can cash in their individual capital stake by selling it, while the firm does not immediately have to reimburse members' quotas. However, the creation of a market for cooperative bonds is likely to generate risks of its own that again must be tackled appropriately. A minimum level of indivisible reserves will still be needed in order to stabilize the capital structure of the firm. The quota of the firm capital saleable in the form of cooperative bonds should be restricted. The sum of divisible reserves owned by incumbent members, and of indivisible reserves owned by the cooperative, should constitute a substantial part of its capital. Finally, a hierarchy of liabilities is required which prioritizes the reimbursement of debts owned by parties who undergo information disadvantages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit in its series AICCON Working Papers with number 23-2005.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 05 Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:aiccon:2005_023

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Keywords: undercapitalization; net residual; divisible reserves; cooperative bonds; hierarchy of liabilities;

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References

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  1. Gregory Dow, 1996. "Replicating Walrasian equilibria using markets for membership in labor-managed firms," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 147-162, December.
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  4. Albanese Marina, 2003. "Le difficoltà di finanziamento delle labour managed firms e il razionamento del credito," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 303-334.
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  7. Furubotn, Eirik G., 1980. "The socialist labor-managed firm and bank-financed investment: Some theoretical issues," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 184-191, June.
  8. Stephen, Frank H, 1980. "Bank Credit and the Labor-Managed Firm: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 796-99, September.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Furubotn, Eirik G, 1978. "The Long-Run Analysis of the Labor-Managed Firm: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 706-09, September.
  11. Horvat, Branko, 1986. "The theory of the worker-managed firm revisited," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 9-25, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Zafiris, Nicos, 1982. "Appropriability rules, capital maintenance, and the efficiency of cooperative investment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 55-74, March.
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  15. Ye, Meng-Hua & Smith, Stephen C. & Conte, Michael A., 1992. "Optimal internal investment in a labor-managed firm with heterogeneous membership: an overlapping generations approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 479-493, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kazuhiro Ohnishi, 2009. "Strategic Commitment and Three-Stage Games with Labour-Managed and Profit-Maximizing Firms," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 63-74, Autumn.

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