IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Trading facts: Arrow's fundamental paradox and the emergence of global news networks, 1750-1900

Listed author(s):
  • Bakker, Gerben

The nineteenth century saw the advent of news agencies that became well-coordinated global organisations with large networks of correspondents, such as Reuters, Havas, Wolff-Continental and Associated Press. Essential features of these agencies were substantial fixed and sunk set-up costs, high fixed operating costs, a marginal cost of supplying news to an additional customer of virtually zero, and the quasi-public good character of information, which had implications for the organisational form, marketing and pricing. To solve Arrow’s fundamental paradox of information, agencies adopted subscriptions, because this made the marginal price of news zero. The news networks were operated by unique organisations whose evolution interacted with new technologies. The paper investigates how the news agencies emerged, whether and how they co-evoluted with infrastructure firms, what business models they pioneered, how they developed/discovered these models, and how they became encapsulated in an oligopolistic industry structure in the course of the nineteenth century.

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:
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22519.

in new window

Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22519
Contact details of provider: Postal:
LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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.:

in new window

  1. Field, Alexander J., 1987. "Modern Business Enterprise as a Capital-Saving Innovation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(02), pages 473-485, June.
  2. Shmanske, Stephen, 1986. "News as a Public Good: Cooperative Ownership, Price Commitments, and the Success of the Associated Press," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 55-80, March.
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:ehl:wpaper:22519. 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: (LSERO Manager on behalf of EH Dept.)

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.