Existing theoretical and empirical evidence is inconclusive concerning the comparative performance of labor-managed firms (LMFs) and conventional firms. By assembling and analyzing new data for a sample of 51 conventional firms and 26 producer cooperatives in the Italian construction industry during the period 1981–1989 we provide additional evidence. Except for organizational form, the cooperatives in our sample are fairly comparable to our conventional firms. Based on our production function estimates, and unlike some previous econometric studies, we find no significant productivity advantage of cooperatives over conventional firms. Our ordinary least squares (OLS) point estimates generally indicated that output would be lower in a cooperative than in an otherwise identical conventional firm. The only statistically significant measure of financial and decision-making participation is collective reserves. We conclude by offering some possible explanations for why our results may differ from some previous findings, especially those for Italian producer cooperatives. In particular we suggest that research methods that are new to the study of cooperatives are needed to help to resolve these questions.
Jones, D.C. (2007), "The Productive Efficiency of Italian Producer Cooperatives: Evidence from Conventional and Cooperative Firms", Novkovic, S. and Sena, V. (Ed.) Cooperative Firms in Global Markets (Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-3339(06)10001-0
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