IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Spontaneous Market Emergence

  • Fafchamps Marcel


    (Department of Economics, Oxford University)

Drawing insights from the literature and from the author's own survey work on contractual practices among manufacturers and traders in Africa, we study the transition from anonymous to personal to impersonal exchange. Using a dynamic game with heterogenous agents and information sharing, we derive precise conditions under which relational contracting spontaneously emerges and deters opportunistic breach even in the absence of formal market institutions. Exclusion of cheaters is not required for contracting to begin. As exchange develops, newcomers may be excluded from contracting when screening costs are high and agents long lived. Reputational equilibria in which cheaters are permanently excluded are not decentralizable unless contracting is already developed and breach of contract is interpreted as a sign of impending bankruptcy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 1-37

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejtec:v:topics.2:y:2002:i:1:n:2
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Levine's Working Paper Archive 631, David K. Levine.
  2. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  3. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2000. "Entrepreneurs and the Ordering of Institutional Reform: Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Russia and Ukraine Compared," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(1), pages 1-36, March.
  4. Fafchamps, Marcel & Gunning, Jan Willem & Oostendorp, Remco, 2000. "Inventories and Risk in African Manufacturing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 861-93, October.
  5. Marcel Fafchamps, 2002. "Returns to social network capital among traders," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 173-206, April.
  6. Rasmusen, E., 1992. "Stigma and Self-Fulfilling Expectations of Criminality," Papers 92-019, Indiana - Center for Econometric Model Research.
  7. Himbara, David, 1994. "The failed Africanization of commerce and industry in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 469-482, March.
  8. John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1998. "Interfirm Relationships and Informal Credit in Vietnam," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 132, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  9. Fafchamps, Marcel & Minten, Bart, 1998. "Relationships and traders in Madagascar," MTID discussion papers 24, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Michi Kandori, 2010. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Levine's Working Paper Archive 630, David K. Levine.
  11. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1997. "Trade credit in Zimbabwean manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 795-815, May.
  12. Ghosh, Parikshit & Ray, Debraj, 1996. "Cooperation in Community Interaction without Information Flows," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 491-519, July.
  13. Marris, Peter, 1971. "African Businessmen in a Dual Economy," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 231-45, July.
  14. McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 1999. "Dispute Prevention without Courts in Vietnam," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 637-58, October.
  15. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  16. Bernstein, Lisa, 1992. "Opting Out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 115-57, January.
  17. Kranton, Rachel E, 1996. "Reciprocal Exchange: A Self-Sustaining System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 830-51, September.
  18. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  19. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1996. "The enforcement of commercial contracts in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 427-448, March.
  20. Kali, Raja, 1999. "Endogenous Business Networks," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 615-36, October.
  21. Lang, William W. & Nakamura, Leonard I., 1990. "The dynamics of credit markets in a model with learning," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 305-318, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejtec:v:topics.2:y:2002:i:1:n:2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.