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Transaction costs and institutions


  • Charles Nolan
  • Alex Trew


This paper proposes a simple framework for understanding endogenous transaction costs - their composition, size and implications. In a model of diversification against risk, we distinguish between inverstments in instituations that facilitate exchange and the costs of conducting exchange itself. Institutional quality and market size are determined by the decisions of risk averse agents and conditions are discussed under which the efficient allocation may be decentralized. We highlight a number of differences with models where transaction cost are exogenous, including the implications for taxation and measurement issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Nolan & Alex Trew, 2011. "Transaction costs and institutions," Working Papers 2011_14, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  • Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2011_14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pol Antràs & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2009. "Organizations and Trade," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 43-64, May.
    2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
    3. Robert M. Townsend & Kenichi Ueda, 2006. "Financial Deepening, Inequality, and Growth: A Model-Based Quantitative Evaluation -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 251-293.
    4. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
    5. Robert M. Townsend & Kenichi Ueda, 2003. "Financial Deepening, Inequality, and Growth; A Model-Based Quantitative Evaluation," IMF Working Papers 03/193, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Martins-da-Rocha, Victor Filipe & Vailakis, Yiannis, 2008. "Endogenous Transaction Costs," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 680, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    7. V. Martins-da-Rocha & Yiannis Vailakis, 2010. "Financial markets with endogenous transaction costs," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 45(1), pages 65-97, October.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 916-943, June.
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    More about this item


    Exchange costs; transaction costs; general equilibrium; institutions.;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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