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Markets from Networks:
Socioeconomic Models of Production
Harrison C. White

Winner of the 2004 Viviana Zelizer Distinguished Book Award in Economic Sociology, American Sociological Association

Paperback | 2004 | $47.95 | £39.95 | ISBN: 9780691120386
416 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 9 tables, 37 line illus.
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In Markets from Networks, one of America's most influential sociologists unveils a groundbreaking theory of the market economy. Arguing that most economists use overly abstract models of how the economy operates, Harrison White seeks a richer, more empirically based alternative. In doing so, he offers a more lucid, generalized treatment of the market models described in his important earlier work in order to show how any given market is situated in a broader exchange economy.

White argues that the key to economic action is that producers seek market niches to maximize profit and minimize competition. As they do so, they base production decisions not only on anticipated costs from suppliers and anticipated demand from buyers, but also by looking at their competitors. In fact, White asserts, producers act less in response to actual demand than by anticipating it: they gauge where competitors have found demand and thus determine what they can do that is similar and yet different enough to give themselves a special niche.

Building on these and related insights, White creates new mathematical models of how the economy works and how the interaction of its sectors creates mutual protection from the uncertainties of business. These models provide new ways of accounting for profits, prices, market shares, and other vital economic phenomena. He shows, for example, that prices are determined by the coalescing of local variables rather than set in terms of averages as implied by the ''law'' of supply and demand. The model of ''pure'' competition favored by economics is deficient, he concludes, as it fails to account for the varied circumstances of particular industries.

Throughout, White draws extensively on case studies of American businesses and on recent mathematical and sociological work on networks. Rivaling standard economic theories with its rich empirical grounding, sheer originality, and scholarly rigor, Markets from Networks will resonate in economics and economic sociology for years to come.


"This is an original and stimulating work by an eminent sociologist who undertakes to analyze the structure and workings of economic markets."--W. J. Baumol, Journal of Economics

"This is a work of remarkable scope and ambition. Harrison White is one of the leading lights of 'new economic sociology'."--Costas Lapavitsas, Enterprise & Society


"A tour de force in the new economic sociology. Markets from Networks develops and applies an innovative and realistic theory of production markets that encompasses a broad array of economic phenomena. It is breathtaking both in its comprehensiveness and its modeling generality. And it is a masterful combination of theory, modeling, and an interpretive approach. This book is a major breakthrough."--Wayne Baker, University of Michigan Business School

"Any book by Harrison White is necessarily an important book. This is no different. He is one of the most creative and inspiring scholars in the field."--Joel Podolny, Stanford University

Table of Contents:

List of Figures ix
List of tables xi
Preface xiii
Acknowledgments xv
1. Introduction 1
2. Profiles for a Market 27
3. Market plane 49
4. Quality and Unraveling 78
5. Signaling and PARADOX 95
6. Substitutability Extended 121
7. Market Space 139
8. Estimating Qualities and Parameters 158
9. Facing Upstream or Down 177
10. Embed and Decouple 200
11. Suppressing Market Realities 221
12. Investing across markets 245
13. Strategic Moves and Market Evolution 266
14. Contrasting Research Perspectives 284
15. Business Cultures 299
16. Conclusion 317
Appendix. On Computations 331
Glossary of Symbols 339
Notes 342
References 353
Index 381

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Harrison C. White:

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File created: 7/11/2017

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