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Kilian Russ - Research Summary

London School of Economics

An Investigation into the workings of street markets in developing countries. Evidence from vegetable markets in Kolkata.

A common sight in developing countries is a street lined with vendors selling a narrow range of near-homogeneous goods (e.g. vegetables). The vendors each wake early to travel to wholesale markets to buy the day’s produce, and then on to their spot where they sell. To the onlooker these markets might seem inefficient - why don’t vendors unite to exploit economies of scale? Are the markets even busy enough to merit so many sellers with little differentiation? This project aims to dig deeper into how these markets operate with a particular focus on understanding the source (if any) of inefficiency. As a concrete case, the project focuses on vegetable markets in Kolkata, West Bengal.