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About the article
Published Online: 2013-12-03
In the following, we use the terms “cooperative yardstick” or “cooperative yardstick effect” for referring to the set of theoretical contributions holding that cooperatives have a pro-competitive effect on prices in markets with imperfect competition. Most commonly, the terms “competitive yardstick”, “competitive yardstick effect”, or “competitive yardstick school of cooperative thought” are used in the literature (cf. Fousekis 2011; Sexton 1990; Staatz 1989; Cotterill 1984, 1987). Some authors (e.g. Fowler 1948) have also used the shorter “cooperative yardstick” when describing the phenomenon with regard to agricultural or consumer cooperatives.
The variable was calculated the same way for all member states. Additional information on calculation of this variable at the level of member states is available in the Handbook for EU Agricultural Price Statistics (Eurostat 2008). Summary statistics on variation across states and years are available from the authors on request.
One drawback of our approach is that these data were available only for 2010. We have thus implicitly assumed that the market share of cooperatives has been historically determined and stable over time.
Within this project, a national report on agricultural cooperatives was written for each of the 27 member states by academic experts. As part of these reports, experts were asked to provide information on the market shares of major agricultural sectors, including dairy, for 2010. Through discussions within the project, it turned out that for two countries – Belgium and the United Kingdom – the country experts provided very low estimates. After checking these figures with respective national cooperative umbrella organizations, they were subsequently corrected.