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Community-Based Cooperatives: A New Business Model for the Development of Italian Inner Areas

Luigi Mastronardi () and Luca Romagnoli ()
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Luigi Mastronardi: Department of Economics, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Luca Romagnoli: Department of Economics, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 5, 1-13

Abstract: Italian municipalities distant from main service supply hubs are defined by the Development Ministry as “inner areas”. A new business model, called community-based cooperatives, has recently developed in these areas. The name itself highlights the strong link between these firms and the local population. Their essential features are the pursuit of general interest and the creation of partnerships. This research explores the potential contribution of these enterprises to the growth of Italian inner areas. The data come from a direct survey, and the methodology includes text analysis techniques and correspondence analysis to create useful concept maps that define the paths that community-based cooperatives can take to regenerate their territories. The results highlight the critical issues of inner areas and the needs of their communities, together with the potential fields of business for the establishment of a community-based cooperative. In conclusion, these new firms may lead to real and enduring benefits to local communities. They could also contribute to demographic decline inversion by introducing new practices that reduce inequalities, enhance social, natural, and artificial capital, and boost the sustainable development process.

Keywords: cooperation; community; place-based approach; content and sentiment analysis; correspondence analysis; inner areas; Italy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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