Why Have European Federations of National Industrial Federations Existed?

Neil Rollings and Matthias Kipping

A paradox is often highlighted in relation to European federations of national industrial associations, or Eurofederations: they are numerous, often have longstanding roots yet are politically weak. Both Olson’s theoretical explanation of collective action on the grounds of selective material incentives for membership and political scientists’ empirical focus on political representation fail to capture the nature of these organisations. This paper highlights these failures and then suggests the application of an alternative theoretical framework based around information and knowledge exchange and the role of reciprocity and trust in the context of exploring the creation and development of ORGALIME, the Eurofederation for the mechanical engineering industries.

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