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Helgesson, Matilda and Svensson, Ellinor, 2018. Members’ support of a cooperative’s lobbying activities : the case of Sweden’s largest forestry cooperative. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Economics



Today there is an increased awareness of the importance of forests, which has caused much political interest in forestry. Therefore, there is a need for forest owner to protect their property rights. The largest forestry cooperative in Sweden, Södra, works to improve market conditions for the membership by promoting changes in policy to the advantage of forest owners, hence, lobbying activities.
The problem addressed in this study is that the cooperative’s lobbying benefits also nonmembers, while the members pay by abstaining from possible dividends. The members’ willingness to pay is unknown. Likewise, it is difficult to predict whether the outcome of lobbying will be successful or not. The lobbying can, therefore, be costly with limited or no returns.
The aim of this study is to explore the members’ incentives and disincentives to accept the forestry cooperative Södra using its collective funds for lobbying activities. Core issues are the members’ knowledge and beliefs of Södra’s lobbying activities, their appreciation of Södra as a tool for lobbying and their understanding of the relationship between individual and collective action. It includes the support of lobbying activities performed by Södra and the incentives to accept the costs for those activities.
Södra is a cooperative and therefore collectively owned and governed. To understand how individuals interact in a collective context, the Theory of Collective Action is used. In addition to the behaviour of individuals in a collective organisation, the theory explains the use of public goods, which results from forests and other natural resources. Because cooperatives are collectively governed, the members have vaguely defined property rights, which can affect the members’ acceptance of investments in lobbying. Hence, Property Rights Theory is included in the theoretical framework.
A quantitative research approach is used since a large number of empirical data is needed. The data is collected through a web survey, using a questionnaire. The survey is performed in collaboration with Södra. E-mail with an internet link to the questionnaire was sent to 5.000 randomly selected members of Södra.
The results indicate that most members believe that they get individual benefits from allowing Södra to invest in lobbying activities. The fulfilment of the members' interests constitutes an incentive to accept that collective funds are invested in lobbying. Social interaction within the membership and communication with Södra’s business organisation contribute to the incentives to accept the investments. Non-members’ free riding behaviour and members’ limited planning horizons are not considered as disincentives. Neither uncertainty with lobbying is a disincentive to accept collective investments.

Main title:Members’ support of a cooperative’s lobbying activities
Subtitle:the case of Sweden’s largest forestry cooperative
Authors:Helgesson, Matilda and Svensson, Ellinor
Supervisor:Nilsson, Jerker
Examiner:Ferguson, Richard
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för ekonomi
Volume/Sequential designation:1175
Year of Publication:2018
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM002 Agricultural Economics and Management - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Economics
Keywords:forestry, cooperative, membership, members, collective action, property rights, vaguely defined property rights, lobbying
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Forestry - General aspects
Economics and management
Deposited On:09 Jul 2018 10:46
Metadata Last Modified:25 Feb 2019 13:23

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