- Executive Summary
- Cooperatives in U.S. Economy
- Economic Impacts
- Commercial Sales & Marketing
- Social & Public Services
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- Discussion Papers
- Future Research
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University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Research on the Economic Impact of Cooperatives
In the Request for Proposals, the USDA asked that we conduct research on the "economic impact" of cooperatives, and was explicit about the measures of impact on which we should base our assessment. In essence, the USDA asked that we measure the magnitude of business activity conducted by cooperatives. Although this is a useful starting point, in our proposal we argued that other kinds of impact are also important, perhaps even more important. Measures of business activity do not address the unique contributions of cooperatives, relative to other forms of business organization. In principle, the cooperative ownership structure should lead to distinctive firm-level behavior.
In an effort to identify ways that these "deeper impacts" might be quantified, we set aside funds in our proposal to support a series of competitively sourced discussion papers from the academic community to generate ideas on how we might credibly measure these, and other, impacts in the future. Ultimately, any behavior identified as unique to the cooperative ownership structure will generate the type of impact we seek. In the next section, we discuss how we will use the ideas generated from these discussion papers to continue our research on the economic impact of cooperatives with subsequent rounds of funding.
Here we list the primary author and affiliation of each discussion paper along with a link to their work.