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Social networks, market transactions, and reputation as a central resource. The Mercado del Mar, a fish market in central Mexico

Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez and Juan M Hernandez ()

PLOS ONE, 2017, vol. 12, issue 10, 1-21

Abstract: Fish consumption in Mexico is considered low (around 12 kg per person per year) and non-homogeneously distributed across the country. One of the reasons for this situation is the scarcity of wholesale selling sites. In this context, the Mercado del Mar (MM), located in Guadalajara city, Jalisco, is the second biggest wholesale fish market in Mexico, with a distribution of about 500 tons per day and a variety of about 350 different species of fish. In this paper, we argue that MM has accumulated social capital, which is formed from two main resources: buyer and seller relationships, and reputation. Specifically, the MM manages a broad and intensive interaction among business actors and the already achieved reputation allows the MM to adapt to market changes. To validate our hypotheses, an empirical study was conducted in 2015 by means of interviews to fish wholesalers in the MM and a sample of their suppliers and buyers. For simplicity we have only considered fresh water fish. We have followed snow-ball sampling as the survey strategy. Results show that the MM has responded to fish market dynamics organizing a complex network of buyers and suppliers whose relationships can be explained in the form of strong and weak ties. At the same time, reputation has been the central resource to build this social capital and also gives place to market transactions. Additionally, the strategic position of Guadalajara city and the well-connected routes have facilitated fish bulking and distribution in the region.

Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186063

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