Xiao Peng: PhD defense of ‘Innovation, Member Sorting, and Evaluation of Agricultural Cooperatives

Cooperatives differ in their intensity of horizontal and vertical communication, their innovation policies, and their centralization of decision-making power. We aim to establish relationships between these communication, innovation, and decision-making aspects of cooperatives, and to identify the circumstances when a particular configuration adds most value. Horizontal and vertical communication are analyzed in a decentralized and centralized cooperative. Horizontal communication is characterized as exchange of information between farmers in the society of members. It is associated with process innovation. Vertical communication is the exchange of information between a member and the CEO of the cooperative enterprise. It is associated with product innovation. The CEO decides regarding the deliveries of the member and the level of vertical communication in the centralized cooperative, while these decisions are taken by the members in the decentralized cooperative. We establish that the decentralized cooperative is efficient at an intermediate level of the VC cost coefficient and when the HC cost coefficient is above a certain level, while the centralized cooperative is efficient in the other cases.