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Agricultural cooperatives


  • Ermanno C. Tortia

    () (University of Trento)

  • Vladislav Valentinov

    (Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development)

  • Constantine Iliopoulos

    () (Agricultural Economics Research Institute)


The economic nature of agricultural cooperatives is explained by means of a logical continuation of the organizational economics rationale for family farms. The traditional explanations of the importance of family farms is discussed, and embedded in a broader framework which considers their transaction cost-economizing effect and their limitations in terms of limited ability to scale up production and to reach adequate market power. We maintain that these disadvantages represent the major motives for the creation of agricultural cooperatives, whose role lies in enabling the realization of advantages of large scale organization in agriculture while avoiding its transaction costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Ermanno C. Tortia & Vladislav Valentinov & Constantine Iliopoulos, 2013. "Agricultural cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 23-36, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:csnjrn:v:2:i:1:p:23-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 299-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thomas L. Sporleder, 1992. "Managerial Economics of Vertically Coordinated Agricultural Firms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 74(5), pages 1226-1231.
    3. Valentinov, Vladislav & Iliopoulos, Constantine, 2012. "Property Rights Problems in Agricultural Cooperatives: A Heterodox Institutionalist Perspective," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 61(3).
    4. Harris, Andrea & Stefanson, Brenda & Fulton, Murray E., 1996. "New Generation Cooperatives and Cooperative Theory," Journal of Cooperatives, NCERA-210, vol. 11.
    5. Michael E. Sykuta & Michael L. Cook, 2001. "A New Institutional Economics Approach to Contracts and Cooperatives," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1273-1279.
    6. Robin M. Cross & Steven T. Buccola & Enrique A. Thomann, 2009. "Cooperative liquidation under competitive stress," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 36(3), pages 369-393, September.
    7. Valentinov, Vladislav, 2007. "Why are cooperatives important in agriculture? An organizational economics perspective," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 55-69, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mojo, Dagne & Fischer, Christian & Degefa, Terefe, 2015. "Who benefits from collective action? Determinants and economic impacts of coffee farmer cooperatives in Ethiopia," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211889, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. repec:zbw:espost:170724 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nikolić, Marija M. & Ševarlić, Miladin M., 2013. "Cooperatives in International Trade of Agricultural and Food Products," 135th Seminar, August 28-30, 2013, Belgrade, Serbia 160390, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Iliopoulos Constantine N. & Valentinov Vladislav & Kvartiuk Vasyl & Bartkowski Bartosz, 2013. "Government–Third Sector Relations in European Rural Development: A Critical Perspective," Nonprofit Policy Forum, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 65-80, May.
    5. Matyja, Małgorzata, 2016. "Position of Polish Agricultural Production Cooperatives on the International and Domestic Market," Problems of World Agriculture / Problemy Rolnictwa Åšwiatowego, WydziaÅ‚ Nauk Ekonomicznych, Uniwersytet Warszawski, vol. 16(31).
    6. Silvia Sacchetti & Marco Faillo, 2017. "The notion of social responsibility across different types of nonprofit and for profit organizations," Econometica Working Papers wp61, Econometica.
    7. TUREK RAHOVEANU, Maria Magdalena & TUREK RAHOVEANU, Adrian, 2014. "Agricultural Cooperative Structures In The Perspective The New Cap In Romania 2014-2020," Contemporary issues of sustainable rural development: International approaches and experiences of Eastern Europe and Russia, Stavropol State Agrarian University, Monographs, number 163048, August.
    8. Valentinov, Vladislav & Vaceková, Gabriela, 2015. "Sustainability of Rural Nonprofit Organizations: Czech Republic and Beyond," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 9890-9906.

    More about this item


    agricultural cooperatives; irreducible transaction costs; reducible transaction costs; new generation cooperatives; structural change; property rights;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L7 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction
    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • R - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics


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