1st Edition

Cooperative Firms and the Sustainable Development Goals Pursuing Decent Work and Reducing Inequality

By Jae Myong KOH Copyright 2024

    With growing economic inequality and threats to the sustainability of human societies, Koh argues that cooperatives can play an important role in promoting decent work and reducing economic inequality in the twenty-first century and thus urges policy makers to reignite policy discussions on cooperatives.

    This book shows how worker cooperatives are uniquely situated to empower low- and middle-wage workers and what governments can do to promote them. Koh clarifies the mechanism by which cooperatives create an upper hand over conventional companies in ‘labor-intensive’ sectors, thereby boosting employment potential. He also explains cooperatives’ wide contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the resilience of cooperatives in times of crises and their potential to address the challenges of aging societies. Furthermore, he provides a foundational work on ‘decentralized supporting mechanisms for cooperatives’ based on the analysis of the case of South Korea, where the number of cooperatives increased by 2,000 percent between 2013 and 2023. Lastly, he explains how to use Official Development Assistance (ODA) to support cooperatives in developing countries, especially Private Sector Instruments (PSIs), which were introduced in 2016 by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    This book will be of interest to researchers in the fields of cooperative management, development economics, and heterodox economics, as well as to policy makers and professionals.



    PART I


    What is a cooperative?


    1 A cooperative is a firm

    2 The seven strengths of cooperatives

    3 The six types of cooperatives



    Why cooperatives in the twenty-first century?


    4 Widening inequality and the importance of decent work

    5 The resilience of cooperatives in times of crises

    6 The role of cooperatives in supporting aging societies

    7 An overview of cooperatives’ contributions to the SDGs



    Scaling up the cooperative movement


    8 Promoting cooperatives through decentralized public support mechanisms

    9 Digitalizing cooperatives

    10 The symbiotic potential between cooperatives and developing countries


    The Way Forward




    Jae Myong KOH is Dean of Education at Korea National Diplomatic Academy. Previously, he served as Vice-chair of the Development Assistance Committee, and Co-chair of the Community of Practice on Private Finance for Sustainable Development at the OECD. He is the author of Green Infrastructure Financing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).