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Abstract

In this article, we extend the variable delivery claim framework (Cross, Buccola, and Thomann, 2006) to examine the option-to-cheat, that is, the option to shift production between contracts ex post. We use this framework to provide a solution to the age-old conflict between enforcement and the cooperative tradition of providing a "home" for member produce. We show that, in contrast to Nourse's competitive yardstick hypothesis, the value of the cooperative-provided option increases as market competition intensifies. When the option-to-cheat is fairly-priced, it is Pareto improving, increasing grower returns, lowering cooperative per-unit costs and reducing contract shortfalls for investor-owned rivals at no additional per-unit cost. Our valuation framework is consistent with replication-based equilibria and is free from parametric specification of individual preference or firm cost structure.

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