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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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Conclusion. New Outlooks on the History of European Business Interest Associations (Andrea M. Locatelli & Paolo Tedeschi)


195 CONCLUSION New Outlooks on the History of European Business Interest Associations 1. The European BIAs’ history and Business History The aim of this volume is to allow scholars to improve their knowledge about the genesis and development of European BIAs and also to make some comparison between different organisations models1. These models were related to entrepreneurs’ goals and the scale of enterprises. They also depended on the relationships existing between BIAs, trade unions and public authorities, as well as, obviously, on the prevailing economic climate. It is clear that good relations with workers and public authorities were an important part of the structure which allowed Europe- an BIAs’ to orient themselves towards more effectively solving bureau- cratic problems, improving the quality of members’ managers and work- ers, and advertising members’ products in foreign markets. It is also clear that BIAs, representing nationally significant enterprises and particularly multinational enterprises, pursued aims and strategies quite dissimilar to those followed by BIAs representing SMEs. Different laws allowed BIAs’ members to enact different policies and this becomes clearly evident when analysing alternative approaches to the creation and support of what might be considered as cartels rather than just support networks. As with the majority of studies of BIAs, the research in this volume registered differences between horizontal and vertical BIAS. Also recon- firmed is the fact that the interconnection between the interests of a geographical territory and its productive sectors obviously modified the goals and results of BIAs’ activities, whether in a specific...

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