IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/trn/csnjrn/v2i1p75-100.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives

Author

Listed:
  • Avner Ben-Ner

    () (University of Minnesota)

  • Matthew Ellman

    () (Institute for Economic Analysis)

Abstract

We characterize how just-selfish workers are incompatible with long-run success in workers’ cooperatives. Emphasizing mutual monitoring as key to cooperatives’ organization design to combat “shirking” we discuss what possible mixes of behavioral types in the membership of a cooperative are compatible with sustainable success. Sustainability depends on social preferences and cooperative norms that are compatible with low levels of shirking and high levels of mutual monitoring. When worker types are partly unobservable, cooperatives must be more attractive to the types of workers they value most as members. We describe measures that enhance cooperative norms and measures that mitigate adverse selection.

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Ben-Ner & Matthew Ellman, 2013. "The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 75-100, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:csnjrn:v:2:i:1:p:75-100
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.jeodonline.com/sites/jeodonline.com/files/articles/2013/08/15/jeodben-nerellmanthecontributionsofbehaviouraleconomicstounderstanding.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
    2. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
    3. Astrid Hopfensitz & Ernesto Reuben, 2009. "The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1534-1559, October.
    4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    6. Gary Bornstein & Ori Weisel, 2010. "Punishment, Cooperation, and Cheater Detection in “Noisy” Social Exchange," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(1), pages 1-16, March.
    7. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    8. Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Ploner, Matteo, 2008. "Social identity and trust--An experimental investigation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1293-1308, August.
    9. Ernst Fehr & Holger Herz & Tom Wilkening, 2013. "The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1325-1359, June.
    10. Abbink, Klaus & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2009. "The pleasure of being nasty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 306-308, December.
    11. Matthew Ellman & Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2010. "Organizational Structure, Communication, and Group Ethics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2478-2491, December.
    12. Ben-ner, Avner, 1988. "The life cycle of worker-owned firms in market economies : A theoretical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 287-313, October.
    13. Dow, Gregory K., 2002. "The ultimate control group," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 39-49, September.
    14. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra A., 2011. "Trust games: A meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 865-889.
    15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
    16. Mukesh Eswaran & Ashok Kotwal, 1984. "The Moral Hazard of Budget-Breaking," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 578-581, Winter.
    17. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
    18. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 519-548.
    19. Ben-Ner, Avner & Kong, Fanmin & Lluis, Stéphanie, 2012. "Uncertainty, task environment, and organization design: An empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 281-313.
    20. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
    21. Buchan, Nancy R. & Johnson, Eric J. & Croson, Rachel T.A., 2006. "Let's get personal: An international examination of the influence of communication, culture and social distance on other regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 373-398, July.
    22. Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2004. "Persistent parochialism: trust and exclusion in ethnic networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-23, September.
    23. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 493-525, April.
    24. Dow, Gregory K. & Putterman, Louis, 2000. "Why capital suppliers (usually) hire workers: what we know and what we need to know," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 319-336, November.
    25. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    26. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
    27. Casella, Alessandra & Hanaki, Nobuyuki, 2008. "Information channels in labor markets: On the resilience of referral hiring," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 492-513, June.
    28. Ben-Ner, Avner & Halldorsson, Freyr, 2010. "Trusting and trustworthiness: What are they, how to measure them, and what affects them," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 64-79, February.
    29. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-1418, December.
    30. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(4), pages 358-369, December.
    31. Putterman, Louis, 1982. "Some behavioral perspectives on the dominance of hierarchical over democratic forms of enterprise," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(2-3), pages 139-160.
    32. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-772, October.
    33. Handy, Femida & Katz, Eliakim, 1998. "The Wage Differential between Nonprofit Institutions and Corporations: Getting More by Paying Less?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 246-261, June.
    34. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    35. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
    36. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    37. Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Daniel John Zizzo, 2009. "The Value of Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 295-323, March.
    38. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Why are Worker Cooperatives So Rare?," NBER Working Papers 6118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ermanno Tortia & Martha Knox Haly & Anthony Jensen, 2014. "Workers' propensity to cooperate with colleagues and the general population: a comparison based on a field experiment," Econometica Working Papers wp52, Econometica.
    2. Tortia, Ermanno & Knox Haly, Martha & Jensen, Anthony, 2013. "From the Neoliberal to the Participatory Firm," AICCON Working Papers 130-2013, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    3. Silvia Sacchetti, 2015. "Inclusive and Exclusive Social Preferences: A Deweyan Framework to Explain Governance Heterogeneity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 473-485, February.
    4. Andrés Dean, 2014. "¿Las cooperativas de trabajadores degeneran?," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 14-01, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    5. 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.
    6. Silvia Sacchetti & Ermanno C. Tortia, 2013. "The Internal and External Governance of Cooperatives: Membership and Consistency of Values," Euricse Working Papers 1362, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    7. Ben-Ner, Avner, 2013. "Preferences and organization structure: Toward behavioral economics micro-foundations of organizational analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 87-96.
    8. Yildiz, Özgür & Rommel, Jens & Debor, Sarah & Holstenkamp, Lars & Mey, Franziska & Müller, Jakob R. & Radtke, Jörg & Rognli, Judith, 2014. "Research Perspectives on Renewable Energy Cooperatives in Germany: Empirical Insights and Theoretical Lenses," MPRA Paper 55931, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cooperative enterprises;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:trn:csnjrn:v:2:i:1:p:75-100. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Fabio Sabatini). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/euricit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.