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Abstract

A description and analysis of China's Farmer Specialized Cooperatives is presented. Data is presented regarding the historical development of farmer cooperatives in China, the membership composition of a sample of 66 farmer cooperatives in the Zhejiang province, and the various attributes (governance, quality control system, and strategy) of a watermelon cooperative in this province. Many cooperatives are being transformed in organizations with a market orientation. These cooperatives exhibit substantial heterogeneity, in terms of farmers being member and skewness in the distribution of control rights. Human asset specificity in terms of establishing and maintaining relations and access to markets seems to be more important than physical asset specificity in accounting for governance structure choice in the current institutional setting.

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