The significance of the interconnection of second-level cooperatives and their peer-associated cooperatives for productivity growth

María Martínez-Victoria, MariLuz Maté-Sánchez-Val, Narciso Arcas-Lario


Cooperatives are especially important in current agri-food markets. These companies have responded to the current demand requirements with greater market orientation strategies to attract and satisfy customers. To do so, cooperatives have adopted different collaboration alternatives. In Spain, the most common alliance between cooperatives is materialised in second-level cooperatives, which are cooperatives integrated by at least two first-level cooperatives. The aim of this study was to analyse the interaction effects between first- and second level agri-food cooperatives on their productive growth and its components. To get this purpose, a Cobb-Douglas specification with spatial econometrics techniques was applied to evaluate this relationship. We included a spatial connectivity matrix to establish the interconnection among cooperatives of first- and second-level. Our results show a positive interaction effect highlighting the importance of these alliances on the productivity growth in the agri-food sector. The scarce amount of empirical papers explaining how second-level cooperatives influence the performance of first-level cooperatives shows the relevance of our study.


Malmquist productivity index; spatial econometric modelling; spatial interaction effects

Full Text:



Anselin L, 1988. Spatial econometrics: Methods and models. Kluwer Acad. Publ., Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Arcas-Lario N, 2002. Contribución de las cooperativas agrarias de segundo grado a la orientación al mercado de sus cooperativas asociadas: efectos en el desempeño de la relación. CIRIEC-España 41: 139-161.

Arcas-Lario N, Hernández-Espallardo M, 2003. Co-ordination and performance of Spanish second-level agricultural co-operatives: The impact of relationship characteristics. Eur Rev Agr Econ 30 (4): 487-507.

Bassem BS, 2014. Total factor productivity change of MENA microfinance institutions: A Malmquist productivity index approach. Econ Model 39: 182-189.

Berger AN, Udell GF, 1998. The economics of small business finance: The roles of private equity and debt markets in the financial growth cycle. J Bank Financ 22 (6-8): 613-673.

BOE, 2010. Order EHA/3360/2010 of 21 December, that approves the rules on the accounting aspects of cooperative firms. Boletín Oficial del Estado (Spain) No. 316, 21/12/10.

Coelli TJ, Prasada-Rao DS, Battese GE, 1998. An introduction to efficiency and productivity analysis. Kluwer Acad. Publ., Massachussetts, USA.

Coelli TJ, Prasada-Rao DS, 2005. Total factor productivity growth in agriculture: A Malmquist index analysis of 93 countries, 1980-2000. Agr Econ 32 (1): 115-134.

COGECA, 2015. Development of agricultural cooperatives in the EU, 2014. COGECA, European Agro-cooperatives. [01 July 2016].

Cook ML, 1995. The future of US agricultural cooperatives: A neo-institutional approach. Am J Agr Econ 77 (5): 1153-1159.

Cooper WW, Seiford LM, Kaoru T, 2007. Data envelopment analysis a comprehensive text with models, applications, references and DEA-solver software. Springer, NY.

Elhorst JP, 2010. Applied spatial econometrics: Raising the bar. Spat Econ Anal 5 (1): 9-28.

EC, 2003. Commission recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. 2003/361/EC. Official Journal of the European Union, Ref. L124/36 dd. 20/05/03.

Färe R, Grosskopf S, Knox-Lovell CA, 1994. Production frontiers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Fingleton B, Le Gallo J, 2008. Estimating spatial models with endogenous variables, a spatial lag and spatially dependent disturbances: Finite sample properties. Papers in Regional Science 87 (3): 319-339.

Galdeano-Gómez E, 2006. Productivity and efficiency analysis of horticultural co-operatives. Span J Agric Res 4 (3): 191-201.

Giannakis E, Bruggeman A, 2015. The highly variable economic performance of European agriculture. Land Use Policy 45: 26-35.

Grifell-Tatjé E, Lovell CAK, 1995. A note on the Malmquist productivity index. Econ Lett 47 (2): 169-175.

Guzmán I, Arcas N, 2008. The usefulness of accounting information in the measurement of technical efficiency in agricultural cooperatives. Ann Public Coop Econ 79 (1): 107-131.

Hendrikse G, Bijman J, 2002. On the emergence of new growers' associations: Self-selection versus countervailing power. Eur Rev Agr Econ 29 (2): 255-269.

Jensen MC, Meckling WH, 1976. Theory of the firm: managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. J Financ Econ 3 (4): 305-360.

Juliá JF, Marí S, 2002. Farm co-operatives and the social economy: the case of Spain. J Rural Coop 30: 119-133.

Juliá-Igual JF, Meliá-Martí E, García-Martínez G, 2012. Strategies developed by leading EU agrifood cooperatives in their growth models. Service Business 6 (1): 27-46.

Kondo K, Yamamoto Y, Sasaki J. 2008, Measuring total factor productivity change for agricultural cooperatives in Japan: A nonparametric Malmquist indices approach. J Rural Coop 36 (2):101-114.

Kyriakopoulos K, Van Bekkum OF, 1999. Market orientation of European agricultural cooperatives: Strategic and structural issues. IX Eur Congr Agric Econ, Warsaw (Poland), Aug 24-28. pp: 148-164.

Kyriakopoulos K, Meulenberg M, Nilsson J, 2004. The impact of cooperative structure and firm culture on market orientation and performance. Agribusiness 20 (4): 379-396.

LeSage JP, Pace RK, 2010. Spatial econometric models. In: Handbook of applied spatial analysis, pp: 355-376. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Maté ML, Madrid A, 2011. A spatial efficiency index proposal: An empirical application to SMEs productivity. Ann Region Sci 47 (2): 353-371.

Martínez-Sola C, García-Teruel PJ, Martínez-Solano P, 2014. Trade credit and SME profitability. Small Busin Econ 42 (3): 561-577.

NACE, 2007. Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE). Eurostat, statistics explained.

Ord K, 1975. Estimation methods for models of spatial interaction. J Am Stat Assoc 70 (349): 120-126.

OSCAE, 2015. Macromagnitudes del cooperativismo agroalimentario español 2014. [20 June 2016].

Puentes R, Antequera JM, Velasco M, 2007. Las sociedades cooperativas de segundo grado y su relación jurídica con socios. REVESCO 93 (3): 98-143.

Soboh R, Oude-Lansink A, Van Dijk G, 2012. Efficiency of cooperatives and investor-owned firms revisited. J Agr Econ 63 (1): 142-157.

Soboh R, Oude-Lansink A, Giensen G, Van Dijk G, 2014. Efficiency of European dairy processing firms. NJAS- Wageningen J Life Sci 70-71: 53-59.

Wooldridge J, 2012. Introductory econometrics: A modern approach. Cengage Learning.

DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017151-10270