New Producer Strategies: The Emergence of Patron-Driven Entrepreneurship

Abstract—Existing research treats the cooperative structure as relatively homogeneous. The proposed paper argues that all cooperatives are not created equal – and consideration of organizational structure is critical when analyzing the economic impact of cooperation. In recent empirical work, we observe cooperatives forming as single- or multi-purpose; generating equity capital passively, quasi-passively, or proactively; vertically integrating in a centralized, federated, or a hybrid fashion; governing through fixed or proportional control rights; and instituting open, closed or class-varying membership criteria. The emergence of multiple-level rent-seeking cooperatives challenges our traditional rent dispersion models of collective action. We call these multi-level, patron, rent-seeking entities a form of collective entrepreneurship. This paper develops a set of criteria enabling us to distinguish between traditional forms of cooperation and collective entrepreneurship. We employ these characteristics to analyze and contrast these two extreme forms of collective action. We propose a continuum from single-level rent seeking, traditional, patron, user-driven cooperative forms; through forms of hybrids and macrohierarchies; to multiple-level rent seeking, patron, user-investor-driven collective entrepreneurship.

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

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