This report has been written in the framework of the EU-funded research project “Support for Farmers’ Cooperatives”. This project was commissioned by the European Commission DG Agriculture and Rural Development, and carried out in 2011 and 2012 by a large consortium of researchers from various European universities and research institutes. The main objective of the EU wide research project is to provide insights on successful cooperatives and producer organisations as well as on effective support measures for these organisations. These insights can be used by farmers themselves, in setting up and strengthening their collective organisation, and by the Commission in its effort to encourage the creation of agricultural producer organisations in the EU. In the context of this research project, data has been collected in all of the 27 Member States of the European Union, on the evolution and development of agricultural cooperatives and producer organisations, but also on the policy measure and legal aspects that affect the performance of these organisations. The present report provides an EU-level analysis of the historical, cultural and social aspects underlying the propensity of farmers’ to engage in cooperatives. It draws on the data from the country reports in the sense that we used information on cooperative membership and membership of producer organisations, as well as about the historical and institutional context. In addition, the work of Geert Hofstede and his colleagues on indicators for underlying cultural dimensions will be used, as well as data on trust, social networks and voluntary work from the Eurofound Survey on Living Conditions.
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