Transactions, standardisation and competition: Establishing uniform sizes in the British wire industry c.1880
When science could not provide a solution to transaction problems in the British wire industry c.1880, market groups had to negotiate a business solution. This involved converging towards a 'one-size-fits-all' standard: a process requiring compromises and cooperation between competitive firms, and solving coordination failure through state intervention. This paper demonstrates how different groups held different notions of 'ideal' standards depending on the incentives they faced. Reconciling these differences was an institutional, rather than a technological, process. The paper also analyses why, historically, dominant producers cooperated to set industry standards when faced with an imminent lock-in on 'wrong' standards imposed on the industry.
Volume (Year): 51 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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