Abstract: Regulating the Activity of a Business Community: Employers' Organizations in the Lyon Silk Industry (1860s-1939)

Pierre Vernus


The Lyon silk industry depended on the existence of institutions and organizations aiming to regulate competition among firms, to reduce transaction costs, and to secure trust. Among those institutions, employers' associations adapted local rules, norms, or practices during the second half of the nineteenth century when the Lyon silk industry faced important structural changes. Moreover, they supplied their members with commercial information allowing them to reduce information asymmetries, provided legal and fiscal advice, and contributed to collective promotion of Lyon silkwares. As pressure groups, they tried to influence the shifts in the national legal framework within which the enterprises worked. Lastly, the diversification of the supply of raw materials, the increasing amount of trade, and the alteration of the consumption markets led to the construction of international trade networks and employers' associations whose aim was to influence customs regulations and to elaborate international norms and practices.

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