Tag Archives: Brunnsson

The concept of market (Part 1)

[El nombre de esta sección es “artículos en cuotas”. La idea es, como en una novela por entregas, ir subiendo partes de papers a medida que vayan saliendo. El texto abajo es un borrador de la introducción de un artículo en el que trabajo. Presenté la primera versión en EGOS este año y esto que estoy subiendo acá es una segunda versión, pero aun, borrador y sin edición del inglés. Además de la introducción, el artículo se compondrá de cuatro partes. Cada parte será una entrega que iré subiendo a medida que tenga las nuevas versiones listas. Como siempre, sugerencias son muy bienvenidas]

The concept of Market

José Ossandón, draft 30/11/2017


The emergence of the broad set of practices and techniques grouped under the label of ‘market design’ makes apparent a challenge that has been avoided for too long in organizational and sociological studies of markets. The challenge can be illustrated with the example of school place allocation.

School allocation is a policy instrument increasingly popular among governments and policy makers. It consists in implementing algorithms to match two set of priorities; families’ preferred schools and schools’ available vacancies. School allocation is also one of the most recognized examples of ‘market design’ (Cantillon 2017). Markets designers label situations such as school place allocations, which do not feature some of the basic elements included in traditional social scientific definitions of markets (for instance: money, prices, or the transference of property rights), as market. In this context, social researchers interested in inspecting a situation like school place allocation are pushed to ask themselves a basic question: should the social researcher follow the definitions of markets accepted in their academic fields or they should take the definitions of market designers? In the following pages, I expect to demonstrate that school allocation is not merely a marginal example. It is “an extreme case” (Flyvbjerg 2006) that can be productively used as a provocation to initiate a broader discussion about the concept of market. Continue reading