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Organizational structure, redistribution and the endogeneity of cost: Cooperatives, investor-owned firms and the cost of procurement

Philippe Bontems and Murray Fulton

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2009, vol. 72, issue 1, 322-343

Abstract: As an organizational type, cooperatives are in general not the dominant form of enterprise. Nevertheless, cooperatives and cooperative-like organizations do play important roles in a number of sectors, suggesting that in some circumstances they are more efficient than other business forms. This paper explores the importance of membership goals on the relative efficiency of the cooperative form of organization. The cooperative cost (and hence production efficiency) advantage is directly linked to the goal alignment between the cooperative and its members, and is influenced by the extent of income redistribution between members and the degree of rent seeking that takes place in the organization. When there is no aversion to income inequality, the members produce at their first best levels. However, as aversion to inequality rises, the production profile of the members converges to the production profile generated when the members face an IOF. Regarding rent seeking, if the more (less) efficient members are able to get their profits valued more, total output is increased (decreased). As a consequence, consumers may benefit from the lobbying that occurs inside a cooperative where the powerful members are the most efficient agents.

Keywords: Asymmetric; information; Cooperatives; Investor-owned; firms; Redistribution; Rent-seeking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:322-343