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Making Distribution Markets: Market-Wide Institutions in French and American Bicycle Distribution, 1865–1914

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Abstract

Scholars usually analyze market-making within specific parameters. Market sociologists analyze institutions primarily between competitors; global value chain scholars study institutional innovation along exchange sequences; and varieties of capitalism scholars examine national institutional frameworks. I analyze how entrepreneurs and trade associations used “market-wide” institutions such as exhibitions and publications in French and American bicycle distribution systems between 1865 and 1914 to improve exchange efficiencies and to influence other market actors and the markets' environments. I argue that market-makers adjusted these institutions to market conditions, and also to national institutional frameworks. The findings present opportunities for further research in competition and exchange institutions.

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