Regional trade and economic networks in West Africa
AbstractTo date, most of the literature on economic networks in West Africa has considered networks in a metaphorical way. The aim of this paper is to go one step further by showing how network analysis may be applied to the study of regional trade in West Africa. After a brief review of the literature, this exploratory paper investigates two main issues related to regional trade. We start by discussing how recent developments in regional trade in West Africa, brought on by urbanization, liberalization, and globalization, have contributed to challenging the social structure of traders. We then discuss the changes that have affected the spatiality of regional trade by looking at the influence of spatial location and geographic scale on traders? abilities to trade. In both cases, we argue that the value of social network analysis in exploring how traders have progressively adapted to social and spatial changes in economic activities has been greatly underestimated. Through the combination of social and spatial ties, we ultimately show that the structural position of economic actors can be used to reassess the centrality of places. By doing so, the relational approach developed in this paper invites scholarship to reconsider the geographic organization of West African societies.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CEPS/INSTEAD in its series CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series with number 2012-07.
Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
regional trade; economic networks; social network analysis; border markets; West Africa;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
- L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
- N77 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Africa; Oceania
- N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania
- R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2012-02-27 (Africa)
- NEP-ALL-2012-02-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-NET-2012-02-27 (Network Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2012-02-27 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062364.
- Fafchamps, Marcel & Gavian, Sarah, 1997. "The Determinants of Livestock Prices in Niger," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(2), pages 255-95, July.
- Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
- Jenny C. Aker & Michael W. Klein & Stephen A. O'Connell & Muzhe Yang, 2010. "Borders, Ethnicity and Trade," NBER Working Papers 15960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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