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What Do Cooperative Firms Maximize, if at All? Evidence from Emilia-Romagna in the pre-Covid Decade

Guido Caselli, Michele Costa () and Flavio Delbono

Working Papers from Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna

Abstract: The Italian region Emilia-Romagna ranks first among the world’s most important cooperative districts. Using a unique dataset covering all firms registered in the region, we investigate the performance of active firms in the period 2010-18. By focusing on employment, revenue and profits of cooperative firms as compared to conventional firms, we disentangle the differences between the average performance of the two types of companies and detect the presence of a “size effect” driving much of the difference between them. Moreover, our results strengthen previous empirical evidence about the countercyclical role of cooperative firms: they seem to optimize a mixture of employment and profits, assigning a greater weight to the former during downturns and stagnation. Finally, we examine the regional logistics industry and compare also the profitability of employees in the two segments of the sector.

JEL-codes: L21 L25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cfn, nep-eff and nep-sbm
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