The Disappearance of Cooperatives from Economics Textbooks
Posted: 16 Jun 2008
Date Written: July 2007
Discussion of cooperatives abounded in early twentieth 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 cooperatives has changed, and what factors have led to a neglect of cooperatives in textbooks. The quality and quantity of the discussion on cooperatives is noted to be much greater in books published before World War II than in post-World War II books. I argue that the main reason for the decline is the paradigm shift from institutional to neoclassical analysis, which led to a neglect of the potential of cooperatives in addressing social problems.
Keywords: Cooperatives, Textbooks, University of Helsinki
JEL Classification: A20, B10, B20, P13
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