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Transactions, standardisation and competition: Establishing uniform sizes in the British wire industry c.1880

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  • Aashish Velkar

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Aashish Velkar, 2009. "Transactions, standardisation and competition: Establishing uniform sizes in the British wire industry c.1880," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(2), pages 222-247.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:51:y:2009:i:2:p:222-247
    DOI: 10.1080/00076790902726582
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daunton, M. J., 1995. "Progress and Poverty: An Economic and Social History of Britain 1700-1850," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198222811.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cristopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2013. "Standards, Learning and Growth in Britain 1901-2009," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0613, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    2. Christopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2012. "Alternative Paths of Learning: Standardisation and Growth in Britain, 1901-2009," Discussion Paper Series 2012_10, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Oct 2012.

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