Institutional relatedness and the emergence of renewable energy cooperatives in German districts

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This paper analyses the evolution of renewable energy cooperatives, examining all such cooperatives founded in German districts between 2006 and 2016. The rise of the cooperative form in renewable energy production is a prominent example of the strong involvement of users in market formation. We investigate the effects of ‘institutional relatedness’, arguing that renewable energy cooperatives can leverage the organizational knowledge and the legitimacy gained by cooperatives active in other industries in the same district. Using an organizational ecology approach, we find that the local presence of cooperatives in other industries indeed supported the founding of renewable energy cooperatives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)548-562
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 03.04.2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research–NWO) [Vici-Grant number 453-14-014. The authors thank the editors and anonymous referees for their help in improving this paper. They also acknowledge Elena Heller for her help with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • cooperatives, institutions, legitimacy, market formation, related diversification, renewable energy
  • Management studies