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2016/17 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LUBS3580 Economics of Labour-Managed Firms

10 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Prof. Virginie Pérotin
Email: v.perotin@lubs.leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2016/17

Pre-requisites

LUBS2140Intermediate Microeconomics
LUBS2570Introduction to Econometrics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What happens when employees run firms? This module will look at worker cooperatives and employee-owned firms in western economies. It will introduce students to the economic theory concerning labour-managed firms and to the international empirical evidence about how they compare with conventional firms. There has been a sustained international policy interest in firms owned and managed by their employees for some three decades. In the UK, there is a cross-party political consensus in favour of labour managed firms, which have been promoted by both Labour and Coalition governments in the health sector. Many of the most distinguished economists (eg, Walras, Meade, Sen) did some research on labour-managed firms, which have existed for nearly two hundred years. Yet, even in countries like Italy that have a lot of employee-run firms, they remain a small portion of the total number of firms, and most people think of worker cooperatives as small, inefficient firms appropriate only for specific industries. In recent years, the availability of new, large datasets has allowed researchers to test the predictions of economic theory about labour-managed firms, and new and sometimes surprising evidence about the sector has come out. This module will look at the latest empirical evidence as well as traditional theory, investigate the extent to which employee-run firms match our ideas about them and how they behave, and conclude on the questions that remain to be answered about these firms.

Objectives

The module aims to introduce students to:
- The international experience of labour-managed firms (primarily in western economies);
- The standard economic model of the labour –managed firm and its limitations;
- And international empirical evidence on the compared characteristics and behaviour of labour-managed and conventional firms.

It also aims to give students a taste for the many interesting questions for economists in this area.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
- Describe the incidence and the different types of employee-run firms in western economies;
- Analyse the traditional model of the labour-managed firm and its limitations;
- Interpret the international empirical evidence regarding the compared behaviour of labour-managed and conventional firms and its implications.

Skills outcomes
Transferable skills:
- Analytical skills
- Critical thinking
- Social and cultural sensitivity and awareness


Syllabus

1. What do we know about labour-managed firms? Examples of employee-owned firms and worker cooperatives, incidence and stylised facts about employee-managed firms
2. Productivity
3. The theory of the labour-managed firm and the "perverse supply response"
4. Empirical evidence on the perverse supply response and pay and employment responses to demand shocks
5. Firm survival
6. Firm creation
7. Pay and equality
8. Social cooperatives, Community interest companies and public sector mutuals

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Lecture101.0010.00
Seminar41.004.00
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

seminar presentations (for feedback only—no formal assessment)

Methods of assessment


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/04/2015

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