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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Cooperatives play an important role in many sectors of the Italian economy, from retailing to construction and services. The cooperative movement is pluralistic in inspiration: in the post-war period different cooperatives had close links to Christian Democracy, the Communists, or other parties. These links shaped a system of mutual support between parties and cooperatives, meaning that, with the exception of the Berlusconi cabinets, governments have always supported cooperatives. The legal framework provides a range of financial incentives for cooperatives, specifically in terms of capitalization. However, in the Second Republic and especially since 2011, links with political parties have weakened and cooperatives have collaborated more closely with each other. In fact, the success of cooperatives has also been due to their ability to build networks and co-operate closely amongst each other. This has enabled them to thrive and to prove resilient in face of the financial crisis.

Keywords: cooperatives, Christian Democrayc, Communism, financial crisis, Silvio Berlusconi, political parties, cooperative networks

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