Accueil > English Supplement > Volume 47, Supplement 1 > ‘Intermediation’ in used goods markets : Transactions, confidence, and (...)

‘Intermediation’ in used goods markets : Transactions, confidence, and social interaction - P. Chantelat, B. Vignal

Pascal Chantelat, Bénédicte Vignal

Centre de recherche et d’innovation sur le sport, UFR-STAPS, université Claude-Bernard Lyon I, 27–29, boulevard du 1-novembre 1918, 69 622 Villeurbanne cedex, France

Available online 24 October 2005 on ScienceDirect

An economic sociology approach grounded in an empirical study of second-hand sporting goods stores is used to examine ‘intermediation’ in used goods markets and its impact on confidence-building in market relations. Neo-institutional economic interpretation is contrasted with interpretation that uses a Goffmanian microsociological approach. The first type emphasizes the development of market credibility, analyzing the cognitive and formal arrangements (contractual and technical) which, by ‘professionalizing’ the behavior of self-improvised salespeople, reduce both ‘market opacity’ and the threat of opportunistic behavior. The second shows that such analysis is insufficient for understanding how actual relations in the marketplace are maintained. It aims to describe how partners to a transaction co-produce confidence, using their social skills and signaling honesty by the way they allow the quality of second-hand goods to be assessed. The two approaches converge, however, in that they both involve recognition of the limitations of analysis in terms of personal networks and the impersonality of economic transaction determinants. The article concludes by calling for closer attention to social relations in the marketplace and greater focus on how those relations are depersonalized.

consumer confidence ; consumption ; economic sociology ; interaction ; used goods market

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Constructing credibility in the used goods market
  • 3. Costs and benefits of intermediated confidence
  • 4. Price negotiation, information asymmetry, and power
  • 5. An example of post-modern consumption ?
  • 6. The social specificity of the market tie
  • 7. Price formation, framing the market situation, face-saving and reality testing
  • 8. The ‘civility skills’ of service-relation professionals
  • 9. Conclusion
  • References

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 47, Supplement 1, December 2005, Pages e71–e88