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A learning-centered view of business assocations: building business--government relations for development

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The problems of rent seeking and state captured by business associations have been prominent among the concerns of economic development theory. This paper argues that firms and the state can make possible the building of new institutions that foster improvements in economic performance through arrangements that emphasize goal setting, problem solving, and continual evaluation of progress toward defined goals. The paper reviews key ideas on the learning-centered approach and builds on them to analyze the kinds of government-business relations that contribute to economic development. It uses case study material based on Chile's agro-industry business association FEPACH. It illustrates how innovative state policy coupled with private firms' efforts led to the discovery of group-based coordination that fostered rapid diffusion of new technology and production organization among Chilean enterprises. This work discusses the institutional reshaping of the business association and business-state relations to encourage learning and advance a process of development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Management, McGill University

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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