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Policy Supports for Co-operative Development: Learning from Co-op Hot Spots


The international co-operative movement has prioritised supportive legal frameworks as a key constituent of co-operative growth (ICA, 2013). Unfortunately, there is not a robust literature on co-operative policy to help meet this need. Supportive legal frameworks for co-operatives are a “deeply under-researched area” (Adeler, 2014: 50). We recently conducted a review of the existing research and found that despite its dearth, the literature points to six primary forms of policy support that have been successfully deployed internationally to support co-operative growth: co-operative recognition, financing, sectoral financing, preferential taxation, supportive infrastructure, and preferential procurement. The most developed examples of these policies are found in areas of dense co -operative concentration, or “co-op hot spots”: the Basque region of Spain, Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy, and Quebec, Canada. This article accounts for how these six policy forms appear in the co-operative dense regions. The aim of this analysis is to facilitate further research in the understudied area of co-operative policy, and to clarify policy successes for organisers in the co-operative movement interested in emulating them.

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