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Making a Market: The Institutional Transformation of an African Society

Опубликовано на портале: 27-01-2003
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996
In this book, Jean Ensminger analyzes the process by which the market was introduced into the economy of a group of Kenyan pastoralists. She employs neoinstitutional economic analysis in order to assess the impact of new market institutions on production and distribution, with particular emphasis on the effect of institutions on decreasing transaction costs over time.


Economists have devoted considerable effort to explaining how a market economy functions, but they have given a good deal less attention to explaining how a market economy is formed. In this book, Jean Ensminger analyzes the process by which the market was introduced into the economy of a group of Kenyan pastoralists. She employs neoinstitutional economic analysis in order to assess the impact of new market institutions on production and distribution, with particular emphasis on the effect of institutions on decreasing transaction costs over time. She is able to trace the effects of increasing commercialization on the economic well-being of individual households, rich and poor alike and to analyze the process by which institutions themselves are transformed as a market economy develops. Changes in labor relationships, property rights, and the transfer of political authority from the council of leaders to the state are considered in particular detail.
The case points to the importance of understanding the roles of ideology and bargaining power in shaping market institutions, in addition to pure economic forces, such as changing relative prices. The combination of neoinstitutional economic analysis and richly detailed anthropological case study produces a work full of new insights that may serve as the basis for a more adequate theory of economic development and more general social change.
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1. A proper marriage: new institutional economic anthropology
2. Transaction costs: the history of trade among the Orma
3. Distribution of the gains from trade
4. Agency theory: patron-client relations as a form of labor contracting
5. Property rights: dismantling the commons
6. Collective action: from community to state
7. Conclusion: ideology and the economy
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