As in most developing countries, agricultural wholesale markets in China operate under imperfect market conditions. Traders are separated and volatile, information services are unavailable or poor, and formal credit or insurance is unavailable to traders. To deal with these circumstances, some traders have developed working relationships with their customers. This paper addresses the newly established relationships between agricultural traders and their customers within China’s wholesale markets. Important findings of the paper are (1) improved customer relationships lead to higher profits for traders; and (2) improved customer relationships lead traders to increase their use of variable capital, permanent labor, and temporary labor.


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