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Industry associations as facilitators of social capital: The establishment and early operations of the Melbourne Woolbrokers Association


  • David Merrett
  • Stephen Morgan
  • Simon Ville


Relocation of the selling of Australia's wool clip from London to cities in Australia in the late nineteenth century led to the creation of wool selling industry associations, such as the Melbourne Woolbrokers Association (MWA). Highly successful in fostering competitive collaboration that improved market efficiency, the Association rested on the social capital brought to it and further developed by the participants, individuals with extensive connections in the pastoral, banking and transport industries. The collective social capital vested in the Association enabled the earning of economic rents, firstly from the high trust created through internal cohesion reinforced by formalised sanctions, and secondly from a capacity to span 'structural holes' between networks outside of the Association.

Suggested Citation

  • David Merrett & Stephen Morgan & Simon Ville, 2008. "Industry associations as facilitators of social capital: The establishment and early operations of the Melbourne Woolbrokers Association," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(6), pages 781-794.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:50:y:2008:i:6:p:781-794
    DOI: 10.1080/00076790802420153

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    Cited by:

    1. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2009. "Managing technological change by committee: Adoption of computers in Spanish and British savings banks (circa 1960-1988)," MPRA Paper 27086, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Simon Ville & Olav Wicken, 2013. "The dynamics of resource-based economic development: evidence from Australia and Norway," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(5), pages 1341-1371, October.
    3. David Merrett & Simon Ville, 2013. "Institution Building and Variation in the Formation of the Australian Wool Market," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 53(2), pages 146-166, July.


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