IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The emergence of the empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores: A political economic and sociological appraisal of two decades of self-management in Argentina

Listed author(s):
  • Marcelo Vieta
Registered author(s):

    The crisis of Argentina’s neoliberal model that escalated throughout the 1990s, driven in part by the zealousness of how IMF-sanctioned structural reforms were implemented, would eventually culminate in the model’s temporary implosion over the years spanning the turn of the millennium. For workers living through this crisis, traditional union tactics would prove unresponsive to the neoliberal juggernaut, while the state was on the defensive as business bankruptcy, informal work, unemployment, and poverty rates soared to unprecedented levels during this period. But the crisis of neoliberalism that so deeply affected the everyday lives of Argentina’s working people and their families also proved to be, for some of them, an opening for experimenting with other possibilities for organizing production and economic life. As businesses increasingly failed, more and more workers from a broad cross-section of Argentina’s urban-based economy began taking matters into their own hands by occupying and self-managing the troubled workplaces that had been employing them as worker cooperatives. Today throughout Argentina, almost 9,500 workers selfmanage over 200 empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores (worker-recuperated enterprises, or ERTs) in sectors as varied as printing and publishing, media, metallurgy, health provisioning, foodstuffs, shipbuilding, waste management, construction, education, tourism, and energy. The aim of this working paper is to provide a political economic and sociological overview of the rise and establishment of ERTs in Argentina over the past two decades. It does so in order to introduce ERTs to readers that might not be familiar with the Argentine experience of workplace conversions to worker cooperatives and their recent historical emergence. It also gives context to what is arguably, as I will detail in forthcoming research, a new form of hybrid social economy organization—a “solidarity worker cooperative/work integration social enterprise.” In this respect, ERTs are a type of hybrid labour-managed firm that uniquely formed, in the Argentine political economic and sociological context, from out of the takeover and conversion of a formerly investor-owned or proprietary business into a worker cooperative by workers themselves.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises) in its series Euricse Working Papers with number 1355.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2013
    Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpeu:1355
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Via S.Giovanni 36 - 38122 Trento (TN)

    Phone: +39 0461 882289
    Fax: +39 0461 882294
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:

    in new window

    1. Ben-ner, Avner, 1984. "On the stability of the cooperative type of organization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 247-260, September.
    2. Saul Estrin & Derek C. Jones, 1992. "The Viability of Employee-Owned Firms: Evidence from France," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(2), pages 323-338, January.
    3. Francois R. Velde & Marcelo Veracierto, 2000. "Dollarization in Argentina," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 24-37.
    4. John Pencavel & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2006. "Wages, Employment, and Capital in Capitalist and Worker-Owned Firms," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 23-44, October.
    5. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    6. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Sara Depedri, 2010. "Working in the profit versus not for profit sector: what difference does it make? An inquiry on preferences of voluntary and involuntary movers," Euricse Working Papers 1005, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    7. Will Bartlett & John Cable & Saul Estrin & Derek C. Jones & Stephen C. Smith, 1992. "Or-Managed Cooperatives and Private Firms in North Central Italy: An Empirical Comparison," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 103-118, October.
    8. Ben-Ner, Avner, 1988. "Comparative empirical observations on worker-owned and capitalist firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 7-31, March.
    9. Mirta Vuotto, 2012. "Organizational dynamics of worker cooperatives in Argentina," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 6(1), pages 85-97, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:trn:utwpeu:1355. 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: (Sara Depedri)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.