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Conrad, H. (2015)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Market actors are commonly faced with solving three distinct coordination problems as sources of uncertainty. How should they value the objects of their trade, how can they shield themselves from the competition, and with whom and how do they cooperate? This article investigates how Japanese antique art dealers confront these issues. While offering a rich description and analysis of a hitherto understudied Japanese market, the article shows how economic and social issues are closely intertwined. It contributes to our understanding of behaviour in a Japanese market in three ways: Firstly, it underscores how inclusion/exclusion, status, reputation, networks and hierarchies constitute a field that allows market exchanges to exist in the first place, while also channelling, and being impacted by these market exchanges. Secondly, contrary to neoclassical economic theory, where the idea of value has largely been abandoned, the findings highlight the importance of distinguishing between notions of value and price in the understanding of markets. Thirdly, the article shows how market actors actively shape market arrangements to address the specific challenges of their domain. In the case of the Japanese antique art market these challenges include high risks of fakes, a limited quantity of high quality material, market outsiders, and dealers with deep pockets.
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