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The Cooperative Firm as Monitored Credit

  • Hueth, Brent

    (U of Wisconsin)

  • Marcoul, Philippe

    (Iowa State U)

We develop a financial-contracting theory of the cooperative fim where production requires three generic tasks: working, managing, and monitoring. Workers provide an intermediate input (or labor directly); managers convert the workers' input into a final output; and directors monitor managers. We model the cooperative firm by letting the workers act also as directors. We show how bundling the labor and monitoring tasks can expand the scope for equilibrium market activity, even when doing so results in a strictly positive deadweight loss. Our theory provides new insight with respect to a substantial theoretical and empirical literature on the "life cycle" of worker-managed firms, and with respect to a complementary body of anecdotal evidence on the causes of worker buyouts and cooperative "degeneration". Our theory is also consistent with differences between the board compensation policies of cooperative firms, where members typically receive little more than travel and per-diem reimbursements, and of investor-owned firms, where members receive substantial pay often based in part on firm financial performance.

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File URL: http://www.aae.wisc.edu/pubs/sps/pdf/stpap508.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics in its series Staff Paper Series with number 508.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:wisagr:508
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  1. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Allocating Control in Agency Problems with Limited Liability and Sequential Hidden Actions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 318-336, Summer.
  2. Laux, Christian, 2001. "Limited-Liability and Incentive Contracting with Multiple Projects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 514-26, Autumn.
  3. Itoh, Hideshi, 1994. "Job design, delegation and cooperation: A principal-agent analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 691-700, April.
  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Cooperatives vs. outside ownership," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19360, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Besanko, David & Kanatas, George, 1993. "Credit Market Equilibrium with Bank Monitoring and Moral Hazard," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(1), pages 213-32.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Gregory K. Dow, 2000. "Allocating Control Over Firms: Stock Markets Versus Membership Markets," Discussion Papers dp00-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, revised Feb 2000.
  8. Sinclair-Desgagne, Bernard, 1999. "How to Restore Higher-Powered Incentives in Multitask Agencies," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 418-33, July.
  9. Ben-Ner, Avner & Jun, Byoung, 1996. "Employee Buyout in a Bargaining Game with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 502-23, June.
  10. Fabio R. Chaddad & Michael L. Cook, 2004. "Understanding New Cooperative Models: An Ownership–Control Rights Typology," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 26(3), pages 348-360.
  11. Jensen, Michael C & Meckling, William H, 1979. "Rights and Production Functions: An Application to Labor-managed Firms and Codetermination," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 469-506, October.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Steven J. Holland & Robert P. King, 2004. "Trading Mechanisms for New-Generation Cooperative Stock: The Architecture of Organizational Formation and Demise," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1262-1268.
  15. Fulton, Murray E. & Ketilson, Lou Hammond, 1992. "The Role of Cooperatives in Communities: Examples from Saskatchewan," Journal of Agricultural Cooperation, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, vol. 7.
  16. Murray Fulton & Konstantinos Giannakas, 2001. "Organizational Commitment in a Mixed Oligopoly: Agricultural Cooperatives and Investor-Owned Firms," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1258-1265.
  17. Roberta Dessï¾’, 2005. "Start-Up Finance, Monitoring, and Collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 255-274, Summer.
  18. Jonathan Levin & Steven Tadelis, 2005. "Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 131-171, January.
  19. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, P. & Tirole, J., 2004. "Exit Options in Corporate Finance: Liquidity versus Incentives," Scholarly Articles 12500289, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Besley, Timothy & Guinnane, Timothy W, 1994. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: The Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 491-515, May.
  21. Bonin, John P & Jones, Derek C & Putterman, Louis, 1993. "Theoretical and Empirical Studies of Producer Cooperatives: Will Ever the Twain Meet?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1290-320, September.
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