WDDCM began because of increasing income inequality across the globe. In contrast to income inequality, coop members join hands to advance their shared economic and social goals within a defined cooperative structure governed by members using a democratic decision-making process. Cooperatives are based on the priorities and aspirations of their members and provide a pathway to reduced income inequality. The study was conducted In 4 countries, Poland Kenya Philippines and Peru these countries were selected because of their regional diversity and because of their diverse cultures and cooperative histories; we wanted to avoid cultural overlap in the data. We wanted to understand whether the cooperative business model itself makes the difference. What we found. In all 4 countries we found that members of cooperatives are more likely to have incomes at average or above average than the comparison group and the overall population. The grey bars here represent where members on average stand economically and the blue bars represent those who are not members. Further interpretation shows there is a 27% difference of earnings in Peru. In Kenya there is an 11% difference. In Philippines there is a 10% difference. And In Poland there is a 9% difference
In the 4 countries studied, the majority of members agree or strongly agree their membership benefits them economically. Cooperative members also have greater social capital. We measured social capital through the proxies of trust, membership in other organizations and social networks. Did you know? Coop members are more trusted as citizens in their respective countries. Most agree cooperatives contribute to their financial security and quality of life. The numbers show there is also a definite cooperative advantage for women – they are better off and less likely to be poor than the average woman – the top three values expressed by women were:
Increased income and economic status
Access to employment opportunities
Leadership and training opportunities
Economic benefits are significant, in addition we were impressed to learn women not only value the economic benefits but they also include access to skills and knowledge development. Did you know? Non cooperative members report that cooperatives contribute to their communities? You can read the 4 country studies and the Global outcomes report in our resource library, visit ocdc.coop/resource-center.