Corporate Power and Social Policy: The Political Economy of the Transnational Tobacco Companies

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Holden C, Lee K. (2009), “Corporate Power and Social Policy: The political economy of transnational tobacco companies,” Global Social Policy, 9(3): 328-54, The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Global Social Policy, Vol. 9, Issue 3, 2009 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. ©

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Transnational corporations
Transnational tobacco companies
Corporate power
Social policy
Tobacco control

Drawing on published tobacco document research and related sources, this articleapplies Farnsworth and Holden’s conceptual framework for the analysis of corporatepower and corporate involvement in social policy (2006) to the transnational tobaccocompanies (TTCs). An assessment is made of TTCs’ structural power, the impactupon their structural position of tobacco control (TC) policies, and their use of agencypower. The analysis suggests that, as a result of the growth of TC policies from the1950s onwards, TTCs have had to rely on political agency to pursue their interestsand attempt to reassert their structural position. The collapse of the Eastern bloc andthe liberalisation of East Asian economies presented new structural opportunities forTTCs in the 1980s and 1990s, but the development of globally coordinated TCpolicies facilitated by the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention onTobacco Control has the potential to constrain these.

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