Long-term Financing in European Agribusiness Cooperatives: Emerging Methods for Ameliorating Investment Constraints

During recent years, dramatic changes in the world food system have led to unprecedented competition between agribusiness firms. To compete in this environment, agricultural cooperatives should invest substantially in long-term activities such as R&D and advertisement. Co-operatives have a difficult problem in acquiring equity capital because the residual claimant (benefactor) is the patron of the firm, not the investor. This organizational design poses to cooperatives three investment constraints: a) the free rider problem, b) the horizon problem, and c) the portfolio problem. Empirical analysis utilizing a latent variable structural equation model and a large dual response survey suggests that in the U.S. member-patrons are more likely to invest in co-operatives which adopt well defined property rights policies and structures than traditional co-operatives characterized by vaguely-defined property right structures. Agribusiness co-operatives in the European Union are gradually adopting long-term financing methods that possess one or more of the characteristics found in successful U.S. "New Generation Cooperatives." However, it seems that they have paid less attention in designing their organizational structures (e.g., membership policies). This may inhibit their efforts to gain a competitive advantage over investor-owned firms.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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