Learning to Be Loyal. A Study of the Marseille Fish Market
Alan P. Kirman, GREQAM, Marseille, France
Nicolaas J. Vriend, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London
in: D. Delli Gatti, M. Gallegati & A.P. Kirman (Eds.), Interaction and Market Structure. Essays on Heterogeneity in Economics. ( Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems 484), Springer, Berlin, 2000, p. 33-56

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See also: Evolving Market Structure: An ACE Model of Price Dispersion and Loyalty, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 2001.

Abstract. We study the wholesale fish market in Marseille. Two of the stylized facts of that market are high loyalty of buyers to sellers, and persistent price dispersion, although the same population of sellers and buyers meets in the same market hall on every day. We build a minimal model of adaptive agents. Sellers decide on quantities to supply, prices to ask, and how to treat loyal customers. Buyers decide which seller to visit, and which prices to accept. Learning takes place through reinforcement. We analyze the emergence of both stylized facts price dispersion and high loyalty. In a coevolutionary process, buyers learn to become loyal as sellers learn to offer higher utility to loyal buyers, while these sellers, in turn, learn to offer higher utility to loyal buyers as they happen to realize higher gross revenues from loyal buyers.

J.E.L. classification codes. C7, D4, D8, L0, L1, L7

Keywords. Market structure, Price dispersion, Loyalty, Adaptive behavior, Coevolution

Nick Vriend, n.vriend@qmul.ac.uk
Last modified 2012-12-07