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University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Research on the Economic Impact of Cooperatives
This section covers impacts of the "other" sector, which includes a mix of worker and purchasing cooperatives from multiple economic subsectors. Purchasing cooperatives covered in this sector include, among others, True Value, Ace Hardware, The Bike Cooperative, Carpet One, and Unified Grocers. Worker cooperatives in this section include, in addition to many small bicycle and book stores, coffee shops, bakeries, and other small retail businesses, a fair-trade coffee roaster, a taxi company, an industrial engineering firm, and an adult theatre.
The list for "other" cooperatives comes from two sources: purchasing cooperatives from National Cooperative Business AssociationNCBA, worker cooperative lists from Melissa Hoover, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), and Prof. Christina Clamp. All economic data was acquired from survey work undertaken by the UWCC. The survey response rate was 48% for purchasing cooperatives and 32% for worker cooperatives, and all reporting cooperatives provided us with 2007 fiscal year-end data. Revenue and employment data for purchasing cooperatives was supplemented from Onesource. The data collection and survey methodology is discussed in detail in the Data Collection section in the Appendix.
Table 4-2 shows that we have data for 125 cooperatives, and theses firms collectively account for $13.3B in assets, nearly $52B in sales revenue, and pay >$1.2B in wages and benefits. There are approximately 3M memberships and over 100,000 employees. Adding direct and indirect impacts to this activity, cooperative firms in the "other" category account for nearly $60B in revenue, >185,000 jobs, $4B in wages and benefits paid, and nearly $25B in valued-added income. Note that we do not extrapolate to the total population of 282 firms in this category because each firm is very different and applying an average value to all firms results in too much prediction error.