Young and old farmers in Sweden view their cooperative commitment differently. Young farmers generally see their cooperative commitment as a means to obtain economic advantages. Old farmers have the opposite view : They view the cooperative membership as a way of showing solidarity with peers, economic aspects being of secondary importance. The recent development of farmers' views upon cooperatives, combined with the great changes taking place on the European agricultural markets, imply problems for the traditionally organized farmer cooperatives which are predominant in Sweden. This paper starts off by describing some of the problems facing cooperatives today, these problems are analyzed, using agency theory, transaction cost theory, as well as property rights theory. Finally, the results of the theoretical discussion are used as a base for suggestions for improvements of the present situation for farmers and their cooperatives.


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