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Market Organization

  • Gerard Weisbuch
  • Alan Kirman
  • Dorothea Herreiner

In standard economic theory, mechanisms like Adam Smith's "invisible hand" or the Walrasian auctioneer balance aggregate demand and supply and match individuals such that the market clears. Usually, some kind of price adjustment process is assumed without specifying how the implied transactions are organized. In real markets, price adjustment and the matching of buyers and sellers involve considerable exchange of information. Past experience plays an important role in partner selection and in deciding whether a suggested transaction is accepted or not. This implies a process of learning about trading partners and opportunities. The model suggested here, explains how this learning leads to market organization (loyality) or a lack thereof (searching). A decentralized market of a perishable good is considered, where past experience governs the choice of trading partner. Depending on how important past payoffs are and how long the memory is, and depending on the number of players in the market, buyers decide to search or to be loyal. The transition from searching to loyality is very abrupt and resembles phase transitions known from statistical physics. Simulations and empirical evidence from the Marseille wholesale fish market confirm the co-existence of the two behavioral patterns of buyers and the importance of past experience of their behavior.

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Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Working Papers with number 95-11-102.

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Date of creation: Nov 1995
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Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:95-11-102
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Web page: http://www.santafe.edu/sfi/publications/working-papers.html

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  1. Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 1996. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 44-74, October.
  2. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 1995. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions I: Theory," NBER Working Papers 5291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hardle, Wolfgang & Kirman, Alan, 1995. "Nonclassical demand : A model-free examination of price-quantity relations in the Marseille fish market," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 227-257, May.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9625 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Nicholaas J. Vriend, 1994. "Self-Orgainzed Market in a Decentralized Economy," Working Papers 94-03-013, Santa Fe Institute.
  6. Peter Diamond, 1985. "Search Theory," Working papers 389, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Arthur, W. Brian & Lane, David A., 1993. "Information contagion," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 81-104, June.
  8. Gerard Weisbuch & Alan Kirman & Dorothea Herreiner, 1995. "Market Organization," Working Papers 95-11-102, Santa Fe Institute.
  9. L. Blume, 2010. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Levine's Working Paper Archive 488, David K. Levine.
  10. Orlean, Andre, 1995. "Bayesian interactions and collective dynamics of opinion: Herd behavior and mimetic contagion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 257-274, October.
  11. Follmer, Hans, 1974. "Random economies with many interacting agents," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 51-62, March.
  12. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  13. W. Brian Arthur & John H. Holland & Blake LeBaron & Richard Palmer & Paul Taylor, 1996. "Asset Pricing Under Endogenous Expectation in an Artificial Stock Market," Working Papers 96-12-093, Santa Fe Institute.
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