Property Rights and Incentives in Social Cooperatives

  • Marco Musella
  • Roberta Troisi
Part of the AIEL Series in Labour Economics book series (AIEL)


This paper analyzes Italian social cooperatives as a typical delivery service firm, focusing on employee incentive systems characterized by “role tension” linked to the dual position of being employee and owner at the same time. The answers to three questions: “Why to incentivize”, “What to incentivize” “How to incentivize” are searched, building on both the lack of employee’s controllability in the sector and the reconstruction of property rights consistent with the characteristics of social cooperatives and the profit non-distribution constraint. The conclusion is that, because they are able to structure a richer incentive set, social cooperatives are more efficient in the provision of social utility services even though they pay lower wages than public organizations and for-profit firms.

The pareconist internationalist says that we ought to receive for our labors remuneration in tune with how hard we have worked, how long we have worked, and how great a sacrifice we have made in our work. We shouldn’t get more because we use more productive tools, have more skills, or have greater inborn talent, much less should we get more because we have more power or own more property. We should get more only by virtue of how much effort we have expended or how much sacrifice we have endured in our useful work. This is morally appropriate, and it also provides proper incentives by rewarding only what we can affect and not what is beyond our control.

Michael Albert (


Nonprofit Organization Incentive System Opportunistic Behaviour Social Cooperative Intrinsic Incentive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Sergio Destefanis, who helped us to improve the essay in many points. However, the authors alone remain responsible for errors or omissions


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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Musella
    • 1
  • Roberta Troisi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economic Theory and ApplicationsUniversity of Napoli Federico IINapoliItaly

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