Informations and abstract
An institutional perspective was used to identify a path from the traditional to the evolutionary-historical point of view and to define the economic efficiency of the cooperative enterprise. The key-concept was the transaction costs, as the costs of altering the division of labour. In such a theoretical perspective, the cooperative enterprise appeared as both an individual firm and as aggregate movement of firms, that is a network of firm relationships, which focused on economising on such costs. Moreover, that perspective made easier to define a newborn or a dead firm and, therefore, to ascertain the life or survival time of a firm. The data were from the files of the Ufficio Provinciale del Lavoro (Provincial Labour Agency), containing detailed information on 2760 cooperative enterprises (birth date, number of members, sector of activity, exit date, etc.). The population dynamics was analysed by the duration data models. The results suggested that all of the mentioned factors affected an evolutionarily, efficient path of development, and were the principal reasons for the greater longevity of this enterprise form. The statistical analyses on firm mortality 'do not reject our basic hypotheses.