Markets as communication systems
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- Galtier, F., Bousquet, F., Antona, M. et al. J Evol Econ (2012) 22: 161. doi:10.1007/s00191-011-0225-5
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As the information relative to endowments, costs and preferences is dispersed among many agents, the quality of resource allocation depends on the ability of markets to communicate information inside the economic system. Because information is transferred through negotiation and transaction behaviors, the network of trading relations defines the channels through which it flows. In the present study, we use new computational tools to analyze the performance of two wholesale trade institutions widely used around the world: network trading and marketplace trading. Whilst network trading and marketplace trading disseminate far fewer bits of information than a perfectly transparent benchmark market, they often manage to generate an allocation of resources that is almost as good. In many cases, network trading proves more effective than marketplace trading (contrary to a common preconception). This surprising performance of network trading is linked to a form of indirect arbitrage induced by connections between networks. Implications for market design and public policy making are presented, along with prospects for further research.