The Disappearance of Cooperatives from Economics Textbooks

Posted: 15 Aug 2007

See all articles by Panu Kalmi

Panu Kalmi

Aalto University - Department of Economics

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Discussion of co-operatives abounded in early 20th century economics textbooks, but is virtually absent from their modern counterparts. In this paper, I assemble a dataset of economics textbooks used at the University of Helsinki during 1905-2005 and examine how the treatment of co-operatives has changed, and what factors have led to a neglect of co-operatives in textbooks. The quality and quantity of the discussion on co-operatives is noted to be much greater in books published before the Second World War than in post-war books. I argue that the main reason for the decline is the paradigm shift from institutional to neoclassical analysis, which led to neglect the potential of co-operatives in addressing social problems.

Keywords: Co-operatives, Textbooks

JEL Classification: A20, B10, B20, P13

Suggested Citation

Kalmi, Panu, The Disappearance of Cooperatives from Economics Textbooks. Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 625-647, Available at SSRN:

Panu Kalmi (Contact Author)

Aalto University - Department of Economics ( email )

PO Box 1210
FI-00101 Helsinki

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