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Why Danish Credit Co-operatives were so unimportant


  • Timothy W. Guinnane

    (Yale University)

  • Ingrid Henriksen

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


Denmark's credit cooperatives were introduced relatively late and were never as important to the Danish financial system as credit cooperatives in several similar European countries. This experience stands in contrast to the experience of other cooperative enterprises in Denmark, most notably cooperative creameries. We argue that the Danish experience does not reflect a lack of need for such institutions or an inability to adapt them to Danish conditions. Rather, in the 1860s rural Danish people had succeeded in adapting another form of financial institution, the savings bank, to serve the needs of the small borrowers who elsewhere were the main clientele of the credit cooperative. Thus much of the need for cooperatives had been satisfied by another institution. The Danish experience illustrates both the adaptability of financial institutions and the sensitivity of cooperatives to competition for their niche in the financial system.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy W. Guinnane & Ingrid Henriksen, 1997. "Why Danish Credit Co-operatives were so unimportant," Discussion Papers 97-25, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:9725

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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2001. "A 'Friend and Advisor': Management, Auditors, and Confidence in Germany's Credit Cooperatives, 1889-1914," Working Papers 824, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    2. Chloupkova, Jarka, 2002. "European Cooperative Movement - Background and Common Denominators," Unit of Economics Working papers 24204, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Food and Resource Economic Institute.
    3. Timothy Guinnane, 2001. "Delegated Monitors, Large and Small: The Development of Germany’s Banking System, 1800-1914," CESifo Working Paper Series 565, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Susana Martínez Rodríguez & Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto, 2008. "El Raiffesianismo español: cooperativismo agrícola confesional de crédito en España 1890-1934," UHE Working papers 2008_01, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    5. Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2009. "The diversity of organisational forms in banking: France, Italy and Spain 1900-2000," MPRA Paper 14838, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2001. "Delegated Monitors, Large and Small: The Development of Germany's Banking System, 1800-1914," Working Papers 835, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    7. Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto & Susana Martínez Rodríguez, "undated". "The difficult and tortuous path of agricultural cooperative networks in Spain, 1890-1935," UHE Working papers 2006_12, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.

    More about this item


    history of credit cooperatives; savings banks;

    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions


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