Collective Resources, Human and Social Capital: The Emergence of Agricultural Cooperatives in Early 20th Century Spain

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"The emergence of Spanish agricultural cooperatives from the end of the 19th century was a narrative of uneven regional development. It has been claimed that the cooperative movement succeeded in those areas where a relatively significant group of small and middle-sized farms was present. This paper seeks to complement this explanation by analysing the role played by the pre-existing stock of human and social capital. The results show that the social networks built around the use and management of collective resources, such as common lands and irrigation communities, were a key element, together with relatively high levels of human capital, in facilitating the emergence of the cooperative movement in rural areas. It is also argued that the social capital formed around common lands was channelled either to promote agricultural associations or to migrate depending on the economic conditions faced by rural communities. Lastly, common lands may have also indirectly contributed to these processes by promoting higher levels of human capital."



cooperatives--history, agriculture--history