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Contracts and cooperation: The relative failure of the Irish dairy industry in the late nineteenth century reconsidered

Listed author(s):
  • Ingrid Henriksen

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Eoin McLaughlin

    (University of St. Andrews)

  • Paul Sharp

    (University of Southern Denmark)

Why did the establishment of cooperative creameries in late nineteenth century Ireland fail to halt the relative decline of her dairy industry compared to other emerging producers? This paper compares the Irish experience with that of the market leader, Denmark, and shows how each adopted the cooperative organisational form, but highlights that an important difference was institutional: specifically regarding the enforcement of vertically binding contracts, which are considered to be of vital importance for the successful operation of cooperatives. We argue that this failure, combined with a strong proprietary sector which was opposed to cooperation, reinforced the already difficult conditions for dairying in Ireland due to poor social capital.

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File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_71.pdf
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Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0071.

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Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2015
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0071
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ehes.org

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  1. Timothy Guinnane & Susana Martinez-Rodriguez, 2010. "Did the Cooperative Start Life as a Joint-Stock Company? Business Law and Cooperatives in Spain, 1869-1931," Working Papers 987, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  2. Guinnane, Timothy & Harris, Ron & Lamoreaux, Naomi R. & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2007. "Putting the Corporation in its Place," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(03), pages 687-729, September.
  3. Henriksen, Ingrid & Lampe, Markus & Sharp, Paul, 2011. "The role of technology and institutions for growth: Danish creameries in the late nineteenth century," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 475-493, December.
  4. Graeme G. Acheson & Gareth Campbell & John D. Turner & Nadia Vanteeva, 2015. "Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 911-936, 08.
  5. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
  6. Richard Perren, 1971. "The North American Beef and Cattle Trade with Great Britain, 1870-1914," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 24(3), pages 430-444, 08.
  7. Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia, 2012. "Commons, social capital, and the emergence of agricultural cooperatives in early twentieth century Spain," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 511-528, November.
  8. Henriksen, Ingrid, 1999. "Avoiding lock-in: Cooperative creameries in Denmark, 1882 1903," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 57-78, April.
  9. KevinH. O'Rourke, 2007. "Culture, Conflict and Cooperation: Irish Dairying Before the Great War," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1357-1379, October.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
  11. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
  12. Posner, Richard A., 2010. "From the new institutional economics to organization economics: with applications to corporate governance, government agencies, and legal institutions," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 1-37, March.
  13. Henriksen, Ingrid & Hviid, Morten & Sharp, Paul, 2012. "Law and Peace: Contracts and the Success of the Danish Dairy Cooperatives," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 197-224, March.
  14. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 2007. "Property rights, politics and innovation: creamery diffusion in pre-1914 Ireland," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 395-417, December.
  15. David Taylor, 1976. "The English Dairy Industry, 1860–1930," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 29(4), pages 585-601, November.
  16. Christopher L. Colvin & Eoin McLaughlin, 2014. "Raiffeisenism abroad: why did German cooperative banking fail in Ireland but prosper in the Netherlands?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(2), pages 492-516, 05.
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