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Cooperatives before cooperative law: business law and cooperatives in Spain, 1869-1931


  • Guinnane, Timothy W.
  • Martínez-Rodríguez, Susana


Studies of Spanish cooperatives date their spread from the Law on Agrarian Syndicates of 1906. But the first legislative appearance of cooperatives is an 1869 measure that permitted general incorporation for lending companies. The 1931 general law on cooperatives, the first act permitting the formation of cooperatives in any activity, reflects the gradual disappearance of the cooperative's «business» characteristics. In this paper, we trace the Spanish cooperative's legal roots in business law and its connections to broader questions of the freedom of association, the formation of joint-stock enterprises and the liability of investors in business and cooperative entities. Our account underscores the similarities of the organizational problems approach by cooperatives and business firms, while at the same time respecting the distinctive purposes cooperatives served.

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  • Guinnane, Timothy W. & Martínez-Rodríguez, Susana, 2011. "Cooperatives before cooperative law: business law and cooperatives in Spain, 1869-1931," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(01), pages 67-93, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:reveco:v:29:y:2011:i:01:p:67-93_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    2. María Teresa Ramírez Girlado & Irene Salazar, 2007. "Surgimiento de la educación en la República de Colombia, ¿En que Fallamos?," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 004023, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    3. Roberto Luis Jaramillo & Adolfo Meisel Roca, 2009. "Más allá de la retórica de la reacción. Análisis económico de la desamortización en Colombia, 1861-1888," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 11(20), pages 45-81, January-J.
    4. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Brooks & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2017. "The Right to Associate and the Rights of Associations: Civil-Society Organizations in Prussia, 1794–1908," NBER Chapters,in: Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, pages 291-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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