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Defining the co-operative difference


  • Novkovic, Sonja


The paper argues that co-operative firms play a set of roles in market economies, based on the co-operative values and principles that are rarely noted in economic literature. Among other, those roles are to internalize market externalities, to serve as laboratories for social innovation, to espouse social entrepreneurship, to promote ethical business practices, and to aid in development. While economic literature has been focused primarily on the ownership and control structure as a source of the difference, we argue that this focus paints an incomplete picture. The principles of co-operation may supply additional insights in addressing questions why co-operatives may thrive in areas of low labour mobility, prevalent market failures, oligopoly markets, and labour intensive industries. They may also offer insights into strategies and survival in global markets of successful co-operative firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Novkovic, Sonja, 2008. "Defining the co-operative difference," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2168-2177, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:6:p:2168-2177

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Porter, Philip K & Scully, Gerald W, 1987. "Economic Efficiency in Cooperatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 489-512, October.
    2. Richard J. Sexton, 1990. "Imperfect Competition in Agricultural Markets and the Role of Cooperatives: A Spatial Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 72(3), pages 709-720.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:wsi:jecxxx:v:25:y:2017:i:01:n:s0218495817500029 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:spacre:v:19:y:2016:i:1:p:154-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Harold Paredes-Frigolett & Pablo Nachar-Calderón & Carmen Marcuello, 2017. "Modeling the governance of cooperative firms," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 122-166, March.
    4. Kontolaimou, Alexandra & Tsekouras, Kostas, 2010. "Are cooperatives the weakest link in European banking? A non-parametric metafrontier approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1946-1957, August.
    5. Stefan Hirsch & Monika Hartmann, 2014. "Persistence of firm-level profitability in the European dairy processing industry," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(S1), pages 53-63, November.
    6. repec:spr:amsrev:v:6:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s13162-016-0083-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Franck Bailly & Karine Chapelle & Lionel Prouteau, 2017. "What are the determinants of the pay gap between conventional firms and cooperatives? Evidence from France," Working Papers hal-01455741, HAL.
    8. Paolo Carnazza & Attilio Pasetto, 2014. "L’andamento dell’occupazione nelle cooperative italiane negli anni della crisi: alcune evidenze a livello regionale," RIVISTA DI ECONOMIA E STATISTICA DEL TERRITORIO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(2), pages 5-33.
    9. Carmen Marcuello & Pablo Nachar-Calderón, 2012. "Sociedad cooperativa y socio cooperativo: propuesta de sus funciones objetivo," Documentos de Trabajo dt2012-02, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.
    10. Carmen Marcuello Servós & Pablo Nachar Calderón, 2013. "La sociedad cooperativa: motivación y coordinación. Un análisis desde las teorías económicas de las empresa y la economía social
      [The cooperative firm: motivation and coordination. An analysis from
      ," REVESCO: Revista de estudios cooperativos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Escuela de Estudios Cooperativos, issue 110, pages 192-222.


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