Publication Details

Ville, S. & Merrett, D. (2006). Investing in inter-organisational communication: the Melbourne Wool Brokers Association. In G. Boyce, S. Macintyre & S. Ville (Eds.), How Organisations Connect: Investing in Communication (pp. 171-197). Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Publishing.


Trade associations were common in Australia in the 1960s with an estimated 1250 in existence (Freeman 1968: 443–58). Their primary role, as perceived by economists of the day and the Attorney-General intent on introducing legislation to quell restrictive trade practices, was to create economic gain for the association’s members at the expense of their suppliers and/or customers. While Freeman (1968: 457–58) argued that trade associations were neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for restrictive trade practices, such an interpretation was swept aside by Mancur Olson’s influential work on the rent-seeking ‘distributional coalition’ from the 1960s to the 1980s (Olson 1965, 1982).