Vertical Markets and Cooperative Hierarchies

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Cooperatives: Hierarchies or Hybrids?

  • Claude MénardAffiliated withCentre ATOM, University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne)

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Recent developments in organization theory about arrangements that are neither markets nor hierarchies provide an opportunity to reconsider the nature of cooperatives and their fundamental characteristics. The concept of “hybrids” developed by transaction cost economics to encapsulate the properties of these arrangements may be particularly relevant in that it provides a theoretical framework in which to embed cooperatives among other modes of governance. This paper goes in that direction and proposes a characterisation of different regimes among cooperatives, establishing a typology grounded in theory. An important result of this approach is that it challenges standard competition policies towards cooperatives.