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The importance of co-operatives to the New Zealand economy: Constructing a co-operative economy

Morris Altman ()

International Journal of Social Economics, 2017, vol. 44, issue 12, 2086-2096

Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to measure the size of New Zealand’s co-operative sector, in terms of its direct contribution to output and employment as well as its indirect impact. This adds to the construction of a rigorous representation of the global co-operative economy. Design/methodology/approach - The findings here are based on data derived largely from surveying the co-operative sector in 2012. A value added approach is used to estimate the co-ops sector’s contribution to New Zealand’s GNP. Findings - The author estimates suggest that the cooperative sector is much larger, even in its direct impact on the economy, than the prior estimates indicate. Research limitations/implications - Assumptions were made on the size contribution of missing firms and the value added contribution of co-ops. These assumptions need to be interrogated and improved upon, albeit the assumptions are designed to generate lower bound size estimates. Practical implications - The methodology adopted in this paper can be used to develop more rigorous estimates of the size of the co-op sector globally. Social implications - The results empirically challenge the worldview of conventional economics that co-ops are not economically sustainable, where co-ops offer a more equitable and democratic mode for production and development. Originality/value - This paper presents revised, relatively robust, and methodologically transparent estimates of the size of New Zealand’s co-operative sector. These estimates suggest a much larger sector than previously thought. The methodology developed here can contribute to developing more robust estimates of the size of the co-op sector globally.

Keywords: Co-operatives; Co-operative advantage; New Zealand co-operative sector; Size of co-operative sector; Value added methodology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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