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Relationships and traders in Madagascar

  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Bart Minten

This article documents the role that personal relationships play in economic exchange. Original survey data show that agricultural traders in Madagascar perceive relationships as the most important factor for success in their business. Evidence details the extent to which relationships are used to serve a variety of purposes such as: the circulation of information about prices and market conditions; the provision of trade credit; the prevention and handling of contractual difficulties; the regularity of trade flows; and the mitigation of risk. Of these, the regularity of supply and demand and the sharing of risk appear particularly important. Larger and more prosperous traders are those with quantitatively and qualitatively better relationships. Family plays little role in business beyond assistance at start-up.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220389908422600
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 35 (1999)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1-35

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:35:y:1999:i:6:p:1-35
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  1. Kristjanson, Patricia & Martin, Jerry, 1991. "More Than Free Markets Are Needed: The Case of a Peasan Millionaire in Madagascar," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 6(4).
  2. Staatz, John M. & Dione, Josue & Dembele, N. Nango, 1989. "Cereals market liberalization in Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 703-718, May.
  3. Platteau, J.P., 1996. "Traditional Sharing Norms as an Obstacle to Economic Growth in Tribal Societies," Papers 173, Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales.
  4. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  7. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1996. "The enforcement of commercial contracts in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 427-448, March.
  8. 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.
  9. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1997. "Trade credit in Zimbabwean manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 795-815, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Kranton, Rachel E, 1996. "Reciprocal Exchange: A Self-Sustaining System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 830-51, September.
  12. Barr, Abigail, 2000. "Social Capital and Technical Information Flows in the Ghanaian Manufacturing Sector," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 539-59, July.
  13. Christopher B. Barrett & Paul A. Dorosh, 1996. "Farmers' Welfare and Changing Food Prices: Nonparametric Evidence from Rice in Madagascar," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 656-669.
  14. Shuttleworth, Graham, 1989. "Policies in transition: Lessons from Madagascar," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 397-408, March.
  15. Berg, Elliot, 1989. "The liberalization of rice marketing in Madagascar," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 719-728, May.
  16. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-71, June.
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