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Revisiting the objectives of worker-managed firms: An empirical assessment

Gabriel Burdín () and Andrés Dean ()

Economic Systems, 2012, vol. 36, issue 1, 158-171

Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the objectives pursued by worker-managed firms (WMFs). The basic neoclassical model assumes that WMFs maximizes net income per member instead of total profits (Ward, 1958). Even though it has been largely criticized, the Ward model has dominated the self-management literature. Alternative models suggest that WMFs are not only concerned about income per worker but also about the level of employment. However, the empirical content of these competing theoretical models has been rarely analyzed. This paper contributes to fill this gap by estimating the parameters of a generic welfare function, following the methodology proposed by Craig and Pencavel (1993). These parameters determine the relative importance that a WMF places on income per worker vis-a-vis the level of employment. Estimates are based on a long micro-panel of Uruguayan firms covering the entire population of Uruguayan worker-managed firm and conventional firms in 31 3-digit sectors over the period April 1996-December 2005. Following a strictly neoclassical framework, but simply allowing a more general specification of the WMF goals, we show that the assumption of the basic neoclassical model of the WMF is misleading. Our results support the view that WMFs are concerned with both employment and income per worker.

Keywords: Capitalist firms; Worker cooperatives; Firm objectives (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D21 J54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Working Paper: Los objetivos de una empresa gestionada por sus trabajadores: un análisis sobre el caso uruguayo (2008) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecosys.2011.06.003

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