Michael L. Cook

Robert D. Partridge Chair
Department of Agricultural Economics
University of Missouri
125C Mumford Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-6200

Phone: 573-882-0127
Fax: 573-882-3958




Michael L. Cook is the Robert D. Partridge Endowed Professor in Organization Economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences at the University of Missouri. His research activities include work in more than 60 countries and 100 published works. Dr. Cook is a Senior Fellow with the Contracting and Organizations Research Institute (CORI) at MU. His primary research addresses the ownership costs of vaguely defined property rights in patron-owned and controlled enterprises.  

Michael’s greatest interest is in developing a global network of scholars and practitioners with interest in understanding the strengths and challenges confronted by patron-owned organizations in food and fiber chains. This interest allows him to travel the world to conduct and share comparative studies regarding how institutions of collective action lead to improvement of the socio-economic well-being of their patron-owners. This research and outreach work is embedded into Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL) programs. Dr. Cook is the Executive Director of GICL. He also served for 12 years in senior management positions with three global enterprises, two of them cooperatives, and has occupied board positions with numerous cooperatives, subsidiaries, and associations.


In May 2012, Cook was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame at the National Press Club, Washington, DC. In 2015, Cook received the Frederick B. Mumford Outstanding Faculty Award which recognizes a faculty member with a sustained record of excellence in teaching, research, and/or extension/outreach who is viewed as an exemplary educator by both students and faculty.


Selected Recent Publications



Ph.D. 1976 University of Wisconsin (Agricultural Economics, Minor in Quantitative Methods). Ph.D. Dissertation "An Economic and Legal Analysis of Farmer Cooperative Equity Redemption Policies"

M.S. 1974 University of Wisconsin (Economics)

B.A. 1965 University of Wisconsin (History and International Relations)

Post Secondary Education Activities

1. Education -- B.A. in International Relations and Diplomatic History, M.S. in Economics and Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Quantitative Methods at the University of Wisconsin. Three prolonged international educational experiences: Peace Corps Volunteer, Uruguay; AIESEC trainee in Mexico; and, United Nations Scholar, UN Headquarters, New York City, New York.   

2.  Post PhD education -- University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Sofia University, Japan; Wageningen University, Netherlands; and Harvard University, USA.

3. Industry -- 11 years, leadership and management positions with three different firms: Tenneco, Inc., a global multi-product conglomerate based in Houston, Texas; Farmland Industries, a multi-commodity, multi-product vertically integrated user-owned federated firm headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri; and, Rice Growers Association, a single commodity, multi-product vertically integrated centralized user-owned cooperative located in Sacramento, California. Positions included both staff and line responsibilities ranging from marketing analyst to Chief Executive Officer and President.

4. Academia -- 25+ years, with teaching and research responsibilities in organizational economics, collective action, strategic management and corporate governance.  Emphasis has been on the development of cooperative firm theory and property rights and organizational design of user owned and controlled business organizations.  Academic employers include the University of Wisconsin, New Mexico State, Texas A&M and the University of Missouri.  Research and lecturing activities includes work in more than 40 countries.

5. Outreach -- Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL), develop and conduct executive education programs for senior management and boards of directors from leading agricultural cooperatives from more than 400 firms including Land O’Lakes, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, CHS Inc., CoBank, Cebeco, Batavia, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Welch's, Sunkist, Fonterra. Topics include strategic planning, board-management relations, executive development, cost analysis, leadership development, conflict resolution, and resource allocation.