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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Through much of the twentieth century, business-interest associations (BIAs) were neglected as the object of academic study and systematic research. Although this topic attracted considerable interest among institutional economists and social reformers on both sides of the Atlantic during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it is only from the late 1970s that modern scholars have once again begun to delve seriously into BIAs' organization and strategies. The introductory section of this article presents the main theoretical issues at stake, synthesizes the outcomes of historical research, and analyzes the interrelations between them. It sketches a comparative-historical framework to explain the development of BIAs. Furthermore, the article outlines the long-term historical development of BIAs since the Middle Ages. Finally, it proposes an agenda for future research.

Keywords: BIAs, academic study, systematic research, institutional economists, social reformers

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