Avoiding lock-in: Cooperative creameries in Denmark, 1882 1903
The paper investigates the initial phase of the cooperative organisation of agricultural processing firms in Denmark. It argues that the variations observed can be explained within the framework of the theory of industrial organisation. The focus is on the success of cooperative creameries. In 1903, twenty years after the first establishments, the owners of about 80 per cent of all Danish milch cows supplied their product to a cooperative. The success of cooperatives within other fields of production was smaller by comparison. The point is that dairying cooperatives, given the existing technology of gathering information and of preserving and transporting a perishable product, were ideally suited to overcome the problems of potential lock-in and of asymmetric information.
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