Co-operatives and Rural Community Population Growth: Evidence from Canada
The social economy holds promise for rural community development through local capacity building, improving political engagement, expanding networks, and increasing productivity by reducing transactions costs. In this study, the contribution of co-op membership to rural community population growth is estimated, along with standard growth determinants. With minor exceptions, the results do not support the expectation that co-ops improve the population growth prospects of rural communities. Currency (or obsolescence) of this particular type of social capital may be a factor. Alternatively, social capital in the form of co-ops may be serving as a substitute for private sector enterprise or other forms of social capital.
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