The institutional structure and economic rationale of co-operative organisation in Cyprus
This thesis presents an examination of the role of co-operatives in the economic development of pre-independent Cyprus and also in the economic reconstruction effort following the war events of 1974. The provision of credit is a key element of the contribution made by the co-operative movement during these two different phases of the island's modern economic history; first agricultural credit and then housing credit. Government involvement is treated as a very important variable in the co-operative function and various types of such involvement are examined in the course of the thesis, ranging from zero to maximum government input. This maximum type relates to a situation where the initiation, financing and control of co-operatives are tightly in the hands of state agents. In this respect various aspects of institutional theory are applied in order to explain empirical findings. Another important variable of the co-operative function relates to political party involvement. Existing beliefs about the ill-effects of politicisation are put to the test using highly sensitive empirical evidence from Cyprus, available to the author only due to his special relationship with the co-operative movement. The effects of such politicisation are also studied in relation to member participation.