Open accesscreativecommonsPeer reviewed/Research article
Published online: June 2024

Co-operatives’ significance in Europe: Assessing the influence of social, political, and economic factors.

Mercè Sala-Ríosa ORCID, Mariona Farré-Perdiguera ORCID, and Teresa Torres-Soléa ORCID

Vol 57 No 1, pp. 7-23

How to cite this article: Sala-Ríos, M., Farré-Perdiguer, M., & Torres-Solé, T. (2024). Co-operatives’ significance in Europe: Assessing the influence of social, political, and economic factors. Journal of Co-operative Studies, 57(1), 7-23.


Our paper examines whether certain social, political, and economic factors influence citizens’ desire to participate in co-operative projects, thereby increasing co-operatives’ significance. Specifically, we analyse the relationship between co-operatives’ significance and four factors: (1) citizens’ sense of community; (2) the quality of a country’s democracy; (3) citizens’ trust in government; and (4) a country’s economic performance. The empirical analysis is conducted on a sample of 25 European countries. The results highlight that the most significant factors influencing co-operatives’ significance are trust in government, followed by the quality of a country’s democracy and its economic performance. Furthermore, co-operatives’ employment has a significant correlation with both the sense of community and economic performance. We argue that a dynamic learning process, which develops over time, cultivates a stronger sense of community, thereby leading to increased commitment to co-operative employment. Concerning economic performance, our findings reveal a negative relationship, thus supporting the notion of a relative counter-cyclical association.



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