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Abstract

Interfirm contact through membership on boards of directors is a means of increasing the expertise and information available in firm decision making. Data for a sample of 455 U.S. firms in 1976 show that levels of such contact varied widely among 212 large agribusinesses. Corporate firms in the sector, expect those that were privately held, maintained significantly higher levels of director and firm contact through board membership than did cooperatives. The absence of a range of outside directors on cooperative boards serves the principle of democratic control but may have adverse effects on the quality of board decision making.

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