New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series
Chapter 14: Novelty Bundling Markets
14.1 CHOICE UNDER ABUNDANT NOVELTY: A SERIOUS CONSUMER PROBLEM The problem of consumer choice over novelty is not often taken seriously – as if, for example, it were somehow a generalization of the problem of how very rich people choose new yachts. Yacht choice among rich people is of course a serious economic problem for the dedicated microeconomist, involving all manner of uncertainties and signalling challenges. But what I want to examine here is the broader problem of how any person chooses amongst novel consumer goods in a context of abundant novelty in a social context, and with the market institutions that facilitate that choice. My hypothesis in this chapter points to the intermediating role of what I call ‘novelty bundling markets’ as emergent market forms that intermediate novelty choice and adoption as key institutions of a creative economy. Choice under abundant novelty in social contexts is a much underexamined aspect of modern economics that affects a lot more people than those choosing new yachts; for one, it affects those engaging in choice in the output of the creative industries, which is most of us (see also Karpik 2010). My argument here is that we may make sense of this evolutionary process via the construct of novelty bundling markets as emergent market forms that intermediate the production and consumption of novelty and which evolve from consumer specialization turned professional. Our starting point is that the economics of choice over new goods or novelty consumption remains a surprisingly sparse domain of economic...
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