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ECO 303: Intermediate Microeconomics

What is a market? To buy or not to buy – that is the question.

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Core textbooks usually give you three definitions of a ‘market’:

One definition of a market is a location where people go to buy and sell things, such as a store(Publix) or a shopping mall (The Mall at Millenia) or an Internet site (e-bay).

A second definition of a market is an institution to facilitate exchange (buying and selling).Markets bring buyers and sellers together (although not necessarily physically together), and also structure and coordinate their activities. International financial markets are a classic example of a set of institutions (banks, hedge funds, currency traders, stock markets etc.) which facilitates the buying and selling of financial instruments (including currency) among buyers and sellers across the world.

The third definition of markets refers to an economic system (i.e., a Market Economy as opposed to a Command or Planned Economy).

Overall, a market is a collection of buyers and sellers that, through their actual or potential interactions, determine the price of a product or set of products.

The central definition pertains to the market is an institution that brings together sellers and buyers of goods or services who may be either (or both) individual households or business firms. The whole spectrum of production, allocation and consumption (PAC) is mostly determined by market forces in a market orientated economy (as opposed to a command economy). Most important, the market allows the determination of prices for each and every goods/services traded, or alternatively, it allows the determination of the rate of exchange between goods or services. The price system is a way of determining and influencing PAC. Markets can be competitive (many buyers and sellers where individual buyer/seller has little impact on prices).

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