Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Heterogeneity of Cooperative Membership: Implications for Cooperative Sustainability

Version 1 : Received: 1 April 2018 / Approved: 2 April 2018 / Online: 2 April 2018 (11:01:16 UTC)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Elliott, M.; Elliott, L.; Sluis, E.V. A Predictive Analytics Understanding of Cooperative Membership Heterogeneity and Sustainability. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2048. Elliott, M.; Elliott, L.; Sluis, E.V. A Predictive Analytics Understanding of Cooperative Membership Heterogeneity and Sustainability. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2048.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2018, 10, 2048
DOI: 10.3390/su10062048

Abstract

The effects of heterogeneity of cooperative membership on cooperative and collective action sustainability has been previously discussed. However, despite the importance of membership heterogeneity in recent theoretical frameworks, empirical examinations have been limited. We determine the effect of changes to cooperative member heterogeneity on cooperative sustainability and discuss changes to heterogeneity overtime that can advance our understanding to cooperative sustainability long-term. This study uses USDA Agricultural Management Resource Survey data, coupled with USDA-Rural Development cooperative financial data at the state level, to quantify effects of cooperative member heterogeneity to sustainability of U.S. farmer cooperatives. We use random forest regression to interpret the significance of heterogeneity with cooperative sustainability at an aggregate level. The findings of this empirical study narrowly reconciles the theoretical understanding of the emergence of intra-cooperative issues while providing consistent empirical evidence and expectations for the sustainability of cooperatives in the near term.    

Subject Areas

cooperatives; membership heterogeneity; random forest; collective action

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