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On the Nature of a Cooperative: A System of Attributes Perspective

Li Feng and George W.J. Hendrikse

No 44398, 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium from European Association of Agricultural Economists

Abstract: In the 1950s and 1960s there was a debate about the nature of an agricultural cooperative: the cooperative as extension of the farm, the cooperative as vertical integration or the cooperative as a firm. We revisit this debate with various concepts from the theory of the firm that have been formulated since 1990. Two concepts shed light on this debate: the enterprise as a system of attributes and the delineation of a governance structure in terms of ownership rights, control rights and income rights. We argue that viewing the cooperative as a system of attributes integrates these three views. It emphasizes that a cooperative is a firm in itself, with many independent input suppliers as owners. The feature of many input suppliers as owners implies that the behavioral differences between a cooperative and an investor owned firm have to be addressed by highlighting the unique aspects of the stakeholder owning the enterprise.

Keywords: Agribusiness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 13
Date: 2008
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ags:eaae08:44398

DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.44398

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