Heterogeneous Producers’ Cooperatives and Corporate Social Responsibility

19 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2012

See all articles by Luisa Giallonardo

Luisa Giallonardo

University of L'Aquila

Marcella Mulino

University of L'Aquila - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: August 22, 2012


Cooperation and CSR have various facets in common since CSR represents an integral part of cooperatives’ values. Indeed, cooperatives have a long tradition in combining economic viability with social responsibility, as their organization generates a more immediate relationship between shareholders and stakeholders thus making it is easier to achieve the necessary balance between their diverse interests. In the paper we set out a model that considers producer cooperatives engaged in strategic CSR. Our focus is on the role of consumers’ demand for CSR products, according to the so called “bottom-up pressure”, that is consumers’ initiative in appreciating CSR. We enrich the above approach with the idea that the adoption of socially and environmentally responsible practices in production is a specific feature of goods improving their “quality” and represents a novel type of product differentiation. Hence, our model builds on the strand of literature about heterogeneous firms in monopolistic competition, developed by the recent “new-new” trade theory, that incorporates quality product differentiation. In a closed economy with CSR option in production, we derive each producer cooperative’s optimal choices with reference both to prices and the level of ethical standards. Albeit cooperatives differ with respect to the productivity of their members/workers, the solutions to both optimization problems are the same for all cooperatives, pointing to heterogeneity in the net income per member. In addition, our analysis confirms the role of consumers’ “bottom-up pressure”, since cooperatives’ optimal level of ethical standards is positively linked to the intensity of the preference of “concerned” consumers for CSR goods.

Keywords: Producers’ cooperatives, Corporate Social Responsibility, Vertical product differentiation, Heterogeneous firms

JEL Classification: P130, L130, M140

Suggested Citation

Giallonardo, Luisa and Mulino, Marcella, Heterogeneous Producers’ Cooperatives and Corporate Social Responsibility (August 22, 2012). European Business Research Conference Proceedings 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2133947 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2133947

Luisa Giallonardo (Contact Author)

University of L'Aquila ( email )

Piazza del Santuario, 19
Roio Poggio - L'Aquila, 67040

Marcella Mulino

University of L'Aquila - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Piazza del Santuario, 19
Roio Poggio (L'Aquila), 67040
+39 0862 434890 (Phone)

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