WP 04 | 10 Employment protection in worker cooperatives: tools and motivations. Analysis of a group of cooperatives in Ravenna

Publication date: 18 March 2010
Research areas: Economic theory
Publication categories: Working papers
Tags: employment, worker and producer, cooperative, cooperatives

Italian worker cooperatives tend to accumulate a high share of profits in indivisible reserves, a fund that is unavailable and cannot be appropriated by members. The research investigates the reasons for this practice, after discussing the most frequently used interpretations. The hypothesis that is formulated is that indivisible reserves play an important role in protecting the stability of employment in cooperatives. This can in fact be obtained in two ways: through the fluctuation of wages, or through the accumulation of an “insurance” fund, which allows one to face moments of difficulty by guaranteeing both the stability of the number of employees and that of their remuneration. The theoretical elaboration is accompanied by the results of a case study conducted at the Legacoop cooperatives of Ravenna, which uses both company-level data and data collected through a survey of workers.