Cooperatives’ Tax Regimes, Political Orientation of Governments and Rent Seeking

Francesco Forte


The paper focuses on the strict relation between the continuous changes of the diversified tax regimes of the various types of cooperatives and the political composition of the governments succeeding each other in Italy from the after war period to the present. It emerged that the different types of cooperatives prevailing in the leftwing League of Cooperatives or in the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives (CCI) of catholic orientation or in both organization had a different possibility of exerting successful rent seeking with the various Governments with different political orientation. Consumption cooperatives operating in the mass retail which obtained generous tax treatments by Governments leaning to the left, lost most of them by centre right Governments. The cooperatives of agriculture and food processing, those of small fishing and those of production and labor, important both in the League and in CCI, were able to obtain from different Governments special privileges in the postwar period and  kept most of them also under the centre right Governments of the last period. Social cooperatives object of a special legislation in 1992 under a Government of Giulio Andreotti, a leader close to the catholic organizations, kept their preferential tax regime with all the subsequent governments. They are important both in CCI and in the League and have a peculiar electoral power because of their capillary activities.

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Journal of Politics and Law ISSN 1913-9047 (Print) ISSN 1913-9055 (Online)  Email:

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