In recent years various scholars and representatives of important institutions have sustained that cooperatives have responded better to the crisis than other forms of enterprises. The resiliency of the cooperative model has been interpreted as the consequence of their different nature, in particular their orientation towards the satisfaction of a need rather than the distribution of profits. This particularity, it is suggested, pushes cooperatives to maintain production levels even under conditions of reduced or negative revenue.
These statements, though, are not based on systematic and comparative analysis of the performance results of various types of enterprises, but rather on episodic information primarily referring to certain types of cooperatives such as credit cooperative banks, which have continued to respond to credit requests even as other banks began to deny credit, or worker cooperatives that have maintained levels of employment, solely reducing as necessary workers’ hours and relying very limitedly on public unemployment subsidies.
It is possible, however, to verify these statements in a more concrete manner through a complex analysis of the economic performance of a group of relevant cooperative enterprises and s.p.a. corporations in the Province of Trento.
To this end, this study examines the largest cooperatives and corporations operating in Trentino from 2006 through 2010. These are enterprises with a turnover of over 500,000 Euros that have filed their balance sheets with the Chamber of Commerce for every year studied. The sample of enterprises and the related data were compiled with the help of the Aida – Bureau Van Dijk database, excluding banks and insurance providers. The resulting sample included 222 cooperatives and 191 corporations. The cooperatives in the study are smaller on average than the corporations; the value added of the cooperatives in 2010 was 310 million Euros versus 1.23 billion Euros generated by the corporations in the study.
The full article is available in Italian: Cooperative e spa trentine a confronto: la dinamica del valore aggiunto e dei redditi da lavoro nel periodo 2006 – 2010