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The plural economy of gifts and markets
chapterposted on 2023-07-26, 12:48 authored by Ioana Negru
Economists’ theories and histories of market exchange are increasingly attuned to the behavioral and institutional complexity of markets. Yet the pervasive phenomenon of gift (Godbout 1998) continues to receive relatively little attention from economists. This chapter outlines an integrated view of market and gift processes, viewing the modern economy as a gift-market nexus. This vision flows from a pluralistic, poly-institutional notion of economy, as distinct from the mono-institutional, market-centered conceptions which continue to be employed by even the most sophisticated institutionalist economists (North 1990; Hodgson 2001). Markets have always exhibited a wider economic and social role than that prescribed by the conventional view of markets as simply exchange mechanisms. By looking at markets as institutions, it is possible to connect our thinking about markets with other institutions (such as gift) that are observed in contemporary economies. Economists, anthropologists, and historians have been inclined to pose the spheres of market and gift in complete opposition. This juxtaposition leads to, or derives from, the conventional linear image of historical development in which market relations systematically displace gift relations (Hicks 1969, Polyani 1944 ). The present chapter challenges this conventional view.
Number of pages336
Place of publicationAbingdon, UK
Title of bookEconomic Pluralism
EditorsRobert F. Jr. Garnett, Erik K. Olsen, Martha Starr