Econ of Coop Enterprises

Econ 397: Economics of Coop Enterprises

Are you interested in worker ownership, social entrepreneurship, alternative businesses, and the solidarity economy?

Would you like to critically examine some of the historical and cultural forces that have made many cooperative enterprises thrive?

Would you like to learn some economic theory that explains why cooperative enterprises can attain higher levels of efficiency than conventional capitalist firms?

Econ 397 is an upper level undergraduate Economics course offered in the Fall and Spring semesters at UMass Amherst. Student response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are excited to add more courses as the momentum builds!

Current course syllabus

Click here to download the Fall 2011 syllabus.

For information regarding Econ397 for Spring 2012, check out this post & stand by for updates!


  • Spring 2011 syllabus can be found here
  • To view the Fall 2011 course listing, click here (opens in new window).

Course Info

The curriculum was developed through a year-long collaboration between the UMass Amherst Economics department, the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives, and a wider network of individuals with experience managing cooperative enterprises, including the student run businesses that play a vital role on the UMass Amherst campus.

This is an upper division course that meets elective requirements for Economics majors, and stipulates Econ 103 or 104 as a requirement. However, highly motivated students without this formal background can join the class with permission of the instructor, who will encourage accessible and interdisciplinary discussion of the assigned readings.

Class assignments culminate with the responsibility to develop (in collaboration with as many as two other students) a detailed business plan for a viable cooperative enterprise.

Successful completion of this course also provides an opportunity to apply for admission to an Undergraduate Certificate Program in Applied Economic Research on Cooperatives. This program will offer the opportunity to participate in an intensive combined summer research/internship program with a local cooperative enterprise.