Trust, religion, and cooperation in western agriculture, 1880–1930


  • This research was supported by Spain's Ministry of Education Grant ECO2009-10739. I thank James Simpson, Ingrid Henriksen, Juan Carmona, Joan Rosés, and Jordi Domenech, as well as the participants of the Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria Seminar and the Dublin European Historical Economics Society Conference, for useful comments on an earlier version of the article. Manuel Eisner and Leandro Prados de la Escosura kindly provided me with unpublished data on homicide rates and the Gini index of income distribution, respectively.


This article explores the role of culture in encouraging the diffusion of cooperation for the production and marketing of agricultural products, an organizational innovation that can be related to technical progress in the rural sector and higher living standards for farmers. The results of the zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) pooled regressions show that trust and religion were significant determinants of the diffusion of cooperatives among farmers in western countries. Results of the logit portion of these regressions suggest that the density of production was positively related to cooperation and that cooperation decreased where higher inequality in land distribution predominated.