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Because of their perishable nature and the impact of their quality on consumers, agricultural products have always raised important problems of coordination and control with high transaction costs. The recent period in the agrifood industry has registered substantial evolution in devices intended to provide vertical coordination among the various agents of value chains. The most noticeable evolution might be the progressive dismantlement of collective organizations in favor of a contractual approach that would be more compatible with market-oriented policies. In this paper, we revisit the role of marketing boards, mainly through the Canadian experience, more specifically in the Province of Québec. Examining their nature and their role, we intend to better understand the type of problems marketing boards were trying to face and still do, and to assess their success and failures in organizing complex transactions with strong asymmetries among partners who need to coordinate while keeping decision rights distinct. We shall argue that their occurrence in very different contexts as well as their resilience is rooted in a relatively successful combination of organizational properties, embedded in their hybrid nature, and institutional legitimacy, thanks to the guarantees they provide.


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