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On the Entry of Employee-Owned Firms: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing Industries, 1870–1960

Michael A. Conte and Derek Jones

A chapter in Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms, 2015, vol. 16, pp 1-31 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract We outline an economic theory of choice of organizational form, concentrating on explaining the selection of contractual relations within employee-owned firms. We then test the theory on a new database of U.S. producer cooperatives and find that the theory is largely supported by the data. Our principal conclusion is that producer cooperative formations have been rather strongly responsive to variations in economic conditions. While procyclical theories are clearly rejected, countercyclical theories receive considerable support. Neither political motivations nor legal institutions, especially the existence of cooperative incorporation laws, appear to have accounted for a portion of cooperative formations on a systematic basis. Support organizations have significant positive impacts on the formation rate of new cooperatives.

Keywords: Employee ownership; cooperatives; labor-managed firms; entry; formation; J54; P13; D23; J33; J38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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