Project Research Theme 0: Data, Measurement, and Conceptual Framing, Research Theme 3: Agricultural Productivity and Sectoral Gaps, Research Theme 4: Trade and Spatial Frictions, Research Theme 5: Political Economy and Public Investment

Rural Market Coordination

This project has been retired

Years active

  • to

Funding category

  • PhD Research Grants

Market days are the pulse of rural economic and social life in many parts of the world. They are a way of spatially and temporally aggregating thin market demand and supply to ameliorate food security and price volatility. If neighbouring cities compete over buyers and sellers on the same day of the week, the resulting dispersed market exchanges risk losing reliability that are so crucial to rural livelihoods. The coordination of these markets has an important social impact as it determines who meets on a regular basis, how social cliques and clusters form, within which groups/circles information diffuses or epidemics spread. Coordinated markets are a blueprint for the human networks that are likely to form and that facilitate knowledge diffusion and social learning. Suboptimal weekday coordination across neighbours can hamper growth in the best of times, but in the worst of times it will deepen food insecurity. Understanding how this coordination works and where it fails can guide the way to making profound changes in poor people's lives.

The author explores how periodic market days and with them the structuring of time into a seven-day week, established a century ago by colonial forces, affect the economic and social lives of post-colonial Western Kenya to this day, drawing on findings in anthropology, history, geography, and sociology while contributing to the preservation of oral history in the region. To do so, the author digitizes the start dates of several hundred markets in Siaya County alongside the day of the week the market was initially on and whether this ever changed

PhD Research Grants

Closed • Deadline • PhD Research Grants

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