Vol. 22 (Summer) Issue 2, pp.105-124

Sustainability of local complementary currencies: conclusions from an empirical study in Poland

Grzegorz Sobiecki

SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Poland; gsobie@sgh.waw.pl


This paper draws out key conclusions from a research project – a pilot empirical study on local complementary currencies (exchange systems). The study comprised 15 interviews with coordinators representing 13 existing alternative currency systems in Poland out of 20 identified. The research was conducted between February and April 2017. The main goal of the study was empirical determination of the factors involved in the rise and fall of alternative currencies systems in Poland and conditions for their survival – that is, sustainability factors. The author demonstrated that, among examined system, two are performing better than the others, and they meet the efficiency conditions: they have a relatively high and stable or growing number of active members and exchanges, and they are constantly developed without reporting any substantial problems. Despite many differences, they have much in common. The analysis of the two examples in comparison with other systems enabled forming a list of sustainability factors and suggestions for the coordinators or initiators concerning how and what to do and what to avoid to make the system more sustainable.


Poland; complementary currency; community exchange; empirical study; sustainability


Article Sobiecki

To cite this article: Sobiecki, Grzegorz (2018) ‘Sustainability of local complementary currencies – Conclusions from an empirical study in Poland’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 105-124 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2018.019