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Pro business local governance and local business associations The case of Gaziantep

The article investigates how major changes in national economic policies, and in associated forms of state-business relations, produce pro-business local governance arrangements. It places the emphasis on the politics of state-business relations that revolve around the distribution of public resources. It aims to explain, in particular, how these dynamics unfold in the developing countries where neoliberal reforms are implemented under conditions of political instability and weak policy capacity of the state. The article focuses on the political mobilization of the local bourgeoisie through local business associations, as the major force behind the rise of pro-business local governance. It indicates that the emergent form a pro-business local governance scheme, especially when led by local business associations, will depend upon a) the degree of political autonomy of the local bourgeoisie from the national political actors (i.e, their distance to party politics); b) the composition of its constituency/supporters (or the class coalition behind it); c) the degree of their dependency on public resources. The arguments are elaborated in the case of the city of Gaziantep, Turkey.