Business, brokers and borders: The structure of West African trade networks

    Publikation: Working paperForskning

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    Resumé

    Using social network analysis, this paper studies the structure of trade networks that developed across West African borders. The first part aims to understand the centralization of cross-border trade networks. In a business environment where transaction costs are extremely high, we find that decentralized networks are well adapted to the various uncertainties induced by long-distance trade. We also study the trade-offs faced by traders between embeddedness and brokerage and find that long-distance trade relies both on the trust and cooperation shared among local traders, and on the distant ties developed with foreign partners from a different origin, religion or culture. In the second part, we study the spatial structure of trade networks and the influence of national borders on the development of social ties. The paper shows that the spatial form of trade networks is constrained by the historical origin of the traders engaged in cross-border activities. In those markets where trade is recent and where most of the traders are not native of the region, national borders are likely to exert a greater influence than in those regions where trade has pre-colonial roots.
    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    UdgiverDepartment of Border Region Studies
    Antal sider23
    StatusUdgivet - 2014
    NavnDepartment of Border Region Studies Working Papers Series
    Vol/bind1

    Fingeraftryk

    Broker
    Africa
    Traders
    Cross-border
    Cross-border trade
    Business environment
    Trade-offs
    Spatial structure
    Transaction costs
    Centralization
    Social ties
    Social network analysis
    Uncertainty
    Brokerage
    Embeddedness

    Citer dette

    Walther, O. (2014). Business, brokers and borders: The structure of West African trade networks. Department of Border Region Studies. Department of Border Region Studies Working Papers Series, Bind. 1
    Walther, Olivier. / Business, brokers and borders : The structure of West African trade networks. Department of Border Region Studies, 2014. (Department of Border Region Studies Working Papers Series, Bind 1).
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    Business, brokers and borders : The structure of West African trade networks. / Walther, Olivier.

    Department of Border Region Studies, 2014.

    Publikation: Working paperForskning

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    AB - Using social network analysis, this paper studies the structure of trade networks that developed across West African borders. The first part aims to understand the centralization of cross-border trade networks. In a business environment where transaction costs are extremely high, we find that decentralized networks are well adapted to the various uncertainties induced by long-distance trade. We also study the trade-offs faced by traders between embeddedness and brokerage and find that long-distance trade relies both on the trust and cooperation shared among local traders, and on the distant ties developed with foreign partners from a different origin, religion or culture. In the second part, we study the spatial structure of trade networks and the influence of national borders on the development of social ties. The paper shows that the spatial form of trade networks is constrained by the historical origin of the traders engaged in cross-border activities. In those markets where trade is recent and where most of the traders are not native of the region, national borders are likely to exert a greater influence than in those regions where trade has pre-colonial roots.

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