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Business power and protest: Argentina’s agricultural producers protest in comparative context

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The rare but important phenomenon of business protest has not been adequately addressed in either literature on contentious politics or literature on business politics. Using Argentina's 2008 agricultural producers' protests as an illustration, this paper develops the concept of business protest and situates it within the classic framework of business' instrumental power, exercised through political actions, and structural power, arising from individual profit-maximizing behavior. Business protest entails public and/or disruptive collective action in either the economic arena or the societal arena. Business actors are most likely to consider protest in order to defend their core interests when their structural power is weak and when they lack sources of instrumental power that enhance the effectiveness of ordinary political actions like lobbying. I apply the business power and protest framework to explain the Argentine producers' failure to influence export tax policy from 2002 through early 2008 and the emergence of protest against a 2008 tax increase. I then examine how the producers' protests contributed to the reform's repeal. The producers' protests are an exceptional example of business protest in which the participants lacked key organizational resources that facilitate collective action.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/40789/

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