Why are Worker Cooperatives So Rare?
This paper argues that worker cooperatives are prone to redistribution among members, and that this redistribution distorts incentives. I assume that employment contracts are incomplete. In the model cooperative members pay in a capital contribution to purchase equipment. They then receive shocks to ability. Each worker's (observable) output depends on ability and on effort, neither of which can be observed separately. After ability is realized, members vote on a wage schedule as a function of output. If the median member has less than average ability, the cooperative will vote for a redistributive schedule, dulling incentives. Whereas workers in firms owned by outside shareholders would quit if the firm redistributed away from them, cooperative members will be reluctant to leave, since this entails forfeiting the dividends on their capital contribution. The model can explain why cooperatives typically have egalitarian wage policies.
|Date of creation:||Jul 1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998.
"Cooperatives vs. Outside Ownership,"
STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series
346, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Cooperatives vs. Outside Ownership," ESE Discussion Papers 114, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Cooperatives vs. Outside Ownership," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1816, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- 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.
- Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Cooperatives vs. Outside Ownership," NBER Working Papers 6421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
- Benham, Lee & Keefer, Philip, 1991. "Voting in Firms: The Role of Agenda Control, Size and Voter Homogeneity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(4), pages 706-19, October.
- 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.
- Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 1996.
"Wealth Effects, Distribution, and the Theory of Organization,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 312-341, August.
- Patrick Legros & Andrew Newman, 1996. "Wealth effects, distribution, and the theory of organization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-105, December.
- Kevin Lang & Peter-John Gordon, 1995. "Partnerships as Insurance Devices: Theory and Evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 614-629, Winter.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6118. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.