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Local Business VoiceThe History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland, and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011$
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Robert J. Bennett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584734.001.0001

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Members and Interests

Members and Interests

(p.665) 14 Members and Interests
Local Business Voice

Robert J. Bennett

Oxford University Press

The membership is assessed in detail for the earliest chambers in terms of their geographical reach, sector structure, balance of company structures, trading markets, overlap with other networks, and links to protests and religious dissent. Banking appears to have been a leading sector within chambers. Modern developments have interrelated with changes in industrial district structures, expansion of the incorporated business form, evolving networks, changes in international trade, and the expansion of small firms. A remarkable finding is the market penetration of chamber membership has stayed stable over 200 years. Pressures from the world wars and economic slumps have been relatively short-lived. Econometric analysis shows service development as the main feature associated with stronger market penetration. The only major changes to this stability have come from the 1990s, and appear to relate to the mixed signals from acting as partners with government.

Keywords:   Networks, market penetration, membership density, market areas, industrial districts, business sectors, company incorporation, country banks, small firms

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