Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma
Chapter 16: Markets
Despite strong interest in market outcomes, economists have previously paid relatively little attention to the institutional structure of markets. But sociologists have often regarded the study of markets as the job of the economist. Consequently, both economists and sociologists have neglected the institutional character of markets. This chapter considers the historical evolution of markets and offers several alternative definitions, involving different degrees of historical specificity. It is argued that recent developments in economics and sociology point to a more nuanced view of markets, involving recognition of different types of market mechanisms and institutions. These developments include work in experimental economics and auction theory, and from socio-economics and economic sociology. A definition of markets is offered that is consistent with these developments.
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