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Cooperative Firms And The Crisis: Evidence From Some Italian Mixed Oligopolies

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  • Flavio DELBONO
  • Carlo REGGIANI

Abstract

We investigate how cooperative firms reacted to the current crisis. This allows us to compare the behavior of cooperative and conventional firms facing exogenous shifts in demand. After a short survey of a stream of theoretical literature, we analyze a large group of Italian production cooperatives in the periods 2003-2010 and 1994-2011 and we contrast co-ops behavior with the overall trend in the industries in which they operate. Our sample’s evidence suggests that the cooperative’s behavior has a stabilizing effect on employment with respect to shocks in output demand. Unlike profit-maximizers, cooperative firms seem to be adjusting pay more than employment when facing shocks. Production co-ops look better equipped than their profit-maximizing counterparts in tackling the long recession also because they have been very cautious in their profit policies over time. Unlike conventional firms, they have significantly increased their own equity during “good” years instead of distributing large dividends to their members.
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Suggested Citation

  • Flavio DELBONO & Carlo REGGIANI, 2013. "Cooperative Firms And The Crisis: Evidence From Some Italian Mixed Oligopolies," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(4), pages 383-397, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:84:y:2013:i:4:p:383-397
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/apce.2013.84.issue-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Cremer, Jacques, 1992. "Duopoly with employee-controlled and profit-maximizing firms: Bertrand vs Cournot competition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 241-258, June.
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    5. Gal-Or, Esther & Landsberger, Michael & Subotnik, Abraham, 1980. "Allocative and distributional effects of a monopolistic cooperative firm in a capitalist economy," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 158-172, June.
    6. Delbono, Flavio & Rossini, Gianpaolo, 1992. "Competition policy vs horizontal merger with public, entrepreneurial, and labor-managed firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 226-240, June.
    7. Mai, Chao-Cheng & Hwang, Hong, 1989. "Export subsidies and oligopolistic rivalry between labor-managed and capitalist economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 473-480, September.
    8. Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-1105, December.
    9. John Pencavel & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2006. "Wages, Employment, and Capital in Capitalist and Worker-Owned Firms," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 23-44, October.
    10. Horowitz, Ira, 1991. "On the effects of cournot rivalry between entrepreneurial and cooperative firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 115-121, March.
    11. Craig Ben & Pencavel John, 1993. "The Objectives of Worker Cooperatives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 288-308, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Flavio Delbono, 2016. "Le cooperative di produzione e la stabilità occupazionale," QUADERNI DI ECONOMIA DEL LAVORO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(105), pages 166-177.
    2. Musson, Anne & Rousselière, Damien, 2018. "Exploring the effect of crisis on cooperatives: A Bayesian performance analysis of French craftsmen cooperatives," Working Papers 279350, Institut National de la recherche Agronomique (INRA), Departement Sciences Sociales, Agriculture et Alimentation, Espace et Environnement (SAE2).
    3. repec:spr:epolit:v:36:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s40888-018-00139-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Federica VIGANO & Andrea SALUSTRI, 2015. "Matching profit and Non-profit Needs: How NPOs and Cooperative Contribute to Growth in Time of Crisis. A Quantitative Approach," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(1), pages 157-178, March.
    5. repec:bla:annpce:v:89:y:2018:i:4:p:563-580 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rousselière, Damien, 2017. "A flexible approach to age dependence in organizational mortality. Comparing the life duration of cooperative and non-cooperative enterprises using a Bayesian Generalized Additive Discrete Time Surviv," Working Papers 264214, Institut National de la recherche Agronomique (INRA), Departement Sciences Sociales, Agriculture et Alimentation, Espace et Environnement (SAE2).
    7. repec:kap:sbusec:v:51:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9929-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anjel ERRASTI & Ignacio BRETOS & Enekoitz ETXEZARRETA, 2016. "What Do Mondragon Coopitalist Multinationals Look Like? The Rise And Fall Of Fagor Electrodomesticos S. Coop. And Its European Subsidiaries," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(3), pages 433-456, December.
    9. Flavio DELBONO & Luca LAMBERTINI, 2016. "Horizontal Mergers With Capital Adjustment: Workers Cooperatives And The Merger Paradox," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(4), pages 529-539, December.
    10. Cecilia NAVARRA, 2016. "Employment Stabilization Inside Firms: An Empirical Investigation Of Worker Cooperatives," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(4), pages 563-585, December.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00591 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Esteves, Luiz A., 2014. "A Economia das Firmas Cooperadas e a Análise Antitruste
      [The Economics of Cooperative Firms and the Antitrust Analysis]
      ," MPRA Paper 58908, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Marina Albanese & Cecilia Navarra & Ermanno Tortia, 2019. "Equilibrium unemployment as a worker insurance device: wage setting in worker owned enterprises," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 36(3), pages 653-671, October.
    14. Marina Albanese & Cecilia Navarra & Ermanno Tortia, 2017. "Equilibrium unemployment as a worker insurance device: Worker insurance and wage setting in worker owned enterprises," DEM Working Papers 2017/09, Department of Economics and Management.
    15. Delbono, Flavio & Lambertini, Luca, 2014. "Cartel size and collusive stability with non-capitalistic players," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 156-159.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P13 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Cooperative Enterprises
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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