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Historical and International Comparison of Business Interest Associations

19th-20th Centuries


Edited By Danièle Fraboulet-Rousselier, Andrea Maria Locatelli and Paolo Tedeschi

This book brings together selected essays on European Business Interest Associations (BIAs) as important components of European social and economic development over the last 150 years. The studies were originally presented at the 2012 World Economic History Congress, organized in association with an international research programme on BIAs in Europe. They adopt a historical research methodology with the aim of updating previous scholarship from within the social sciences; they also look at a number of different European countries, allowing for a comparative approach. They explore the roots and identity of BIAs, analyse their activities and examine their financing sources and strategies. Some essays discuss the decline of the old system of craft guilds and the emergence of new forms of economic organization and representation: new BIAs had to contend with the development of the trade unions and the growth of state economic interventionism and so they progressively increased their activities in order to serve European companies. Other essays present specific national examples of the evolution of BIAs throughout the twentieth century and also look at the development of Eurofederations.


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An Overview of the French Business Interest Associations in France (1880s-1920s) (Pierre Vernus)


59 An Overview of the French Business Interest Associations (1880s-1920s) Pierre VERNUS Université Lumière Lyon 2 Introduction The history of Business Interest Associations (hereafter BIAs) in France remained an area of research rather neglected by historians until recently. For instance, a 2007 review of the existing literature on the employers’ organisations devoted only 6 out of 128 pages to the history of BIA before the Second World War1. While recent research has modified our knowledge on the subject, most of it still deals with national federations or confederations or with organisations located in Paris2. Consequently, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the BIAs in France before 1914. The consequence is that the chronology and the causes of the BIAs’ creation, characteristics, structures and functions have been presented in a somewhat skewed and distorted manner, based on several questionable assumptions. 1 See Rabier, M., Revue de littérature: organisations patronales en France et en Europe, Documents d’études, Paris, Direction de l’animation de la recherche des études et des statistiques, décembre 2007, IMG/pdf/DE130BIS_organisations_patronales-3.pdf (30 december 2012). 2 For instance see: Fraboulet, D., Quand les patrons s’organisent. Stratégies et pratiques de l’Union des industries métallurgiques et minières 1901-1950, Villeneuve-d’Asq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2007; Rust, M.J., Business and Politics in the Third Republic: the Comité des Forges and the French Steel Industry, 1896-1914, Ph.D, Princeton University, 1973; Dubos, J., André Lebon: un homme d’affaires en République (1859-1938). Le patriotisme et l’influence,...

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