IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Business Associations and Their Potential to Contribute to Economic Development: Reexploring an Interface between the State and Market


  • R J Bennett

    (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge CB2 3BN, Cambridge, England)


This paper is an examination of the role of business associations as agents to facilitate economic development through (1) provision of selective services to their members, and (2) through collective benefits. The author assesses the extent to which associations offer solutions to collective action problems. Business directories and other sources are then used in order to assess the role played by UK associations. All major business associations are examined: trade associations, professional associations, associations of the self-employed or sole traders, and Chambers of Commerce. This paper contributes the first assessment of the population of associations. The author concludes that, although there are strong contrasts between types of association, they are all strongly focused on one or a few services, and there is considerable fragmentation and range of size of associations which appear to relate to two overlapping submarkets (one for ‘collective’ goods, another for selective ‘services’). Associations appear to be quite stable over time, demonstrating a strong path-dependency. The author concludes that if government wants associations to play a larger role in economic development little more will be achieved by voluntary action alone.

Suggested Citation

  • R J Bennett, 1998. "Business Associations and Their Potential to Contribute to Economic Development: Reexploring an Interface between the State and Market," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(8), pages 1367-1387, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:30:y:1998:i:8:p:1367-1387

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Thompson, Edmund R., 2002. "Clustering of Foreign Direct Investment and Enhanced Technology Transfer: Evidence from Hong Kong Garment Firms in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 873-889, May.
    2. Sabrina Lechler & Angelo Canzaniello & Anton Wetzstein & Evi Hartmann, 2020. "Influence of different stakeholders on first-tier suppliers’ sustainable supplier selection: insights from a multiple case study in the automotive first-tier industry," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 13(2), pages 425-454, July.
    3. James Curran Shaw & Robert Blackburn, 2000. "Panacea or White Elephant? A Critical Examination of the Proposed New Small Business Service and Response to the DTI Consultancy Paper," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 181-189.
    4. Jorge Vera Garcia, 2001. "From globalisation to upgrading value in the productive chain in specialised agglomerations: Is local space still important? Evidence From Mexico," ERSA conference papers ersa01p103, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:30:y:1998:i:8:p:1367-1387. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.