Article | Valuation Studies | The Power of Market Intermediaries: From Information to Valuation Processes

The Power of Market Intermediaries: From Information to Valuation Processes
Christian Bessy: ENS Cachan / IDHE, 61, avenue du Président Wilson, Cedex, FRANCE Pierre-Marie Chauvin: Paris-Sorbonne University / GEMASS, 28, rue serpente, Maison de la Recherche, Paris, France
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Sociology and economics tend to focus more and more on the intermediaries involved in economic and social relations, in the shape of distributors, matchmakers, consultants, and evaluators. Once they are distinguished according to their forms, their types of intervention and their effects, the intermediaries are a helpful category in order to study the social organization of markets as well as the changes that operate on them, especially regarding the social and economic values of goods, individuals and organizations. We discuss in the first section the link between intermediaries and information, through an analysis of the functions they fulfill that may explain their emergence, as well as the opportunistic behavior of intermediaries in relation to information flows. In the second section, we adopt a more pragmatist perspective on issues of valuation mainly based on “economics of convention”, which emphasizes the collective dynamics of valuation. We show how intermediaries contribute to de!ne valuation through their different activities and foster valuation frames that can improve the coordination of actors, but also reorganize the markets in different ways. We suggest an analytical distinction between the distribution, the temporality and the generality of the frames, and raise the issue of the valuation power of market intermediaries, their legitimation and the eventual regulation of their activities.
Intermediaries; market; valuation; evaluation; convention; regulation
No. of pages:
Publication type:

Volume 1, Issue: 1, Article 5, 2013

Christian Bessy, Pierre-Marie Chauvin
The Power of Market Intermediaries: From Information to Valuation Processes:

Abbott, Andrew. 1989. The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Akerlof, George. 1970. “The Market for ‘Lemons’: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 84 (3): 488–500. DOI: 10.2307/1879431

Appadurai, Arjun. 1986. “Introduction: Commodities and Politics of Value.” In The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, edited by Arjun Appadurai, 3–63. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Autor, David. 2008. “The Economics of Labor Market Intermediation: An Analytic Framework.” IZA Discussion Paper No. 3705, introductory chapter of Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, edited by David Autor, 1–32. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Baritaux, Valérie, Magali Aubert, Etienne Montaigne, and Hervé Remaud. 2007. “Matchmakers in Wine Marketing Channels: The Case of French Wine Brokers.” Industrial Organization, EconWPA.

Beckert, Jens. 2009. “The Social Order of Markets.” Theory and Society 38 (3): 245–269. DOI: 10.1007/s11186-008-9082-0

Beckert, Jens, and Patrick Aspers. 2011. “Value in Markets.” In The Worth of Goods: Valuation and Pricing in the Economy, edited by Jens Beckert and Patrick Aspers, 3–38. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Benghozi, Pierre-Jean, and Thomas Paris. 2003. “De l’intermédiation à la prescription: le cas de l’audiovisuel.” Revue française de Gestion 402 (49): 205–227. DOI: 10.3166/rfg.142.205-228

Bergström, Marie. 2011. “La toile des sites de rencontres en France. Topographie d’un nouvel espace social en ligne.” Réseaux 166 (2): 225–260. DOI: 10.3917/res.166.0225

Bessy, Christian. 1997. ”Cabinets de recrutement et formes d’intermédiation sur le marché du travail.” In Les intermédiaires du marché du travail, edited by Christian Bessy and François Eymard-Duvernay, 103–141. Paris: PUF.

Bessy, Christian. 2006. “Organisations intermédiaires et accords de licence de technologie.” Revue d’Economie Industrielle 116: 71–104. DOI: 10.4000/rei.483

Bessy, Christian, and Francis Chateauraynaud. 1995. Experts et faussaires. Pour une sociologie de la perception. Paris: Métailié.

Bessy, Christian, and François Eymard-Duvernay, eds. 1997. Les intermédiaires du marché du travail. Paris: PUF.

Bessy, Christian, François Eymard-Duvernay, Emmanuelle Marchal, and Guillemette de Larquier. 2001. Des marchés du travail équitables? Une approche comparative France/Royaume-Uni. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang.

Bessy, Christian, and Guillemette de Larquier. 2001. “IT Professional wanted (£25,000+benefits) / Entreprise recherche informaticien diplômé des Grandes Ecoles.” In Des marchés du travail équitables? Une approche comparative France/Royaume-Uni, edited by Bessy and al., 227–268. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang.

Bessy, Christian, and Emmanuelle Marchal. 2009. “Le rôle des réseaux et des marchés dans les recrutements.” Revue Française de Socio-Economie 3: 121–146. DOI: 10.3917/rfse.003.0121

Beunza, Daniel, and Raghu Garud. 2004. “Security Analysts as Frame-Makers.” Economics Working Papers 733, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Revised Sep 2005.

Bielby, Denise D., and William T. Bielby. 1999. “Organizational Mediation of Project-Based Labor Markets: Talent Agencies and the Careers of Screenwriters.” American Sociological Review 64 (1): 64–85. DOI: 10.2307/2657278

Biglaiser, Gary. 1993. “Middlemen as Experts.” RAND Journal of Economics 24: 212–223. DOI: 10.2307/2555758

Boisard, Pierre, and Marie-Thérèse Letablier. 1987. “Le camembert: normand ou normé; deux modèles de production dans l’industrie fromagère.” Cahiers du Centre d’Études de l’Emploi, Paris: PUF, 30: 1–30.

Boltanski, Luc, and Eve Chiapello. 1999. Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme. Paris: Gallimard.

Boltanski, Luc, and Laurent Thévenot. (1991) 2006. On Justification. Economies of Worth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production. New York: Columbia University Press.

Burt, Ronald. 2000. “The Network Entrepreneur.” In Entrepreneurship, edited by Richard Swedberg, 281–307. Oxford: Oxford Management Readers.

Callon, Michel. 1986. “Eléments pour une sociologie de la traduction.” L’année sociologique 36: 169–208.

Callon, Michel. 1991. “Techno–Economic Networks and Irreversibility.” In A Sociology of Monsters? Essays on Power, Technology and Domination, edited by John Law, 132–161. London: Routledge.

Callon, Michel, and Fabian Muniesa. 2005. “Economic Markets as Calculative Collective Devices.” Organization Studies 26 (8): 1229–1250. DOI: 10.1177/0170840605056393

Cervone, Elisabetta. 2010. “Credit Rating Agencies: Do We Need Draconian Oversight?” EALE, European Association of Law and Economics, 27th Annual Conference in Paris, Working Paper.

Chauvin, Pierre-Marie. 2010a. Le marché des réputations. Une sociologie du monde des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. Bordeaux: Féret.

Chauvin, Pierre-Marie. 2010b. “La signature œnologique. Frontières et transferts de réputation chez les consultants vitivinicoles.” Sociologie du travail 62 (4): 461–479. DOI: 10.1016/j.soctra.2010.09.003

Cochoy, Franck. 2002. “Une petite histoire du client, ou la progressive normalisation du marché et de l’organisation.” Sociologie du Travail 44 (3): 357–380. DOI: 10.1016/S0038-0296(02)01238-4

Cochoy, Franck. 2010. “Reconnecting Marketing to ‘Market-Things’: How Grocery Equipments Drove Modern Consumption.” In Reconnecting Marketing to Markets: Practice-Based Approaches, edited by Luis Araujo, and Hans Kjellberg, 29–49. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578061.003.0003

Cochoy, Franck, and Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier. 2000. “Les professionnels du marché. Vers une sociologie du travail marchand.” Sociologie du Travail 42 (3): 359–368. DOI: 10.1016/S0038-0296(00)01085-2

Cornwell, Benjamin, and David Lundgren. 2001. “Love on the Internet: Involvement and Misrepresentation in Romantic Relationships in Cyberspace vs. Real Space.” Computers in Human Behavior 17: 197–211. DOI: 10.1016/S0747-5632(00)00040-6

Demailly, Lise, and Christian Maroy. 2004. “Les régulations intermédiaires des systèmes éducatifs en Europe: quelles convergences?” Recherches Sociologiques 35 (2): 5–24.

Espeland, Wendy Nelson, and Michael Sauder. 2007. “Rankings and Reactivity: How Public Measures Recreate Social Worlds.” American Journal of Sociology 113 (1): 1–40. DOI: 10.1086/517897

Eymard-Duvernay, François. 1989. “Conventions de qualité et formes de coordination.” Revue Economique 40 (2): 329–359.

Evans, David S., and Richard Schmalensee, 2005. “The Industrial Organization of Markets with Two-Sided Platforms.” In NBER Working Papers, n°11603.

Fine, Gary Alan. 1990. “Organizational Time: Temporal Demands and the Experience of Work in Restaurant Kitchens.” Social Forces 69 (1): 95–114. DOI: 10.1093/sf/69.1.95

Flaherty, Michael. 2003. “Time Work: Customizing Temporal Experience.” Social Psychology Quarterly 66 (1): 17–33. DOI: 10.2307/3090138

Fligstein, Neil, 2001. The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

François, Pierre. 2008. Sociologie des marchés. Paris: Armand Colin.

Gautié, Jérôme, Olivier Godechot, and Pierre-Emmanuel Sorignet. 2005. “Arrangement institutionnel et fonctionnement du marché du travail. Le cas de la chasse de tête.” Sociologie du travail 47 (3): 383–404. DOI: 10.1016/j.soctra.2005.06.003

Granovetter, Mark. 1973. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” The American Journal of Sociology 78 (6): 1360–1380. DOI: 10.1086/225469

Granovetter, Mark. 1974. Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Granovetter, Mark. 1985. “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness.” American Journal of Sociology 91 (3): 481–510. DOI: 10.1086/228311

Hagiu, Andrei. 2007. “Merchant or Two-Sided Platform?” Review of Network Economics 6: 115–133. DOI: 10.2202/1446-9022.1113

Hart, Oliver, and David Kreps. 1986. “Price Destabilizing Speculation.” Journal of Political Economy 94 (5): 927–52. DOI: 10.1086/261418

Hutchins, Edwin. 1995. Cognition in the Wild. MIT Press.

Karpik, Lucien. 2010. Valuing the Unique: The Economics of Singularities. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Kessous, Emmanuel. 2011. “L’amour en projet: Internet et les conventions de la rencontre amoureuse.” Réseaux 166 (2): 191–223. DOI: 10.3917/res.166.0191

Kjellberg, Hans, and Claes-Fredrik Helgesson. 2007. “The Mode of Exchange and Shaping of Markets: Distributor Influence on the Swedish Post-War Food Industry.” Industrial Marketing Management 36 (7): 861–878. DOI: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2007.06.006

Krebs, Joshua. 2009. “The Rating Agencies: Where We Have Been and Where Do We Go From Here?” The Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship and the Law 3 (1): 132–164.

Kreiner, Kristian. 2007. “Architectural Competitions: Empirical Observations and Strategic Implications for Architectural Firms.” Nordic Journal of Architectural Research 21 (2–3): 37–51.

Lamont, Michèle, and Virag Molnar. 2002. “The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences.” Annual Review of Sociology 28: 167–195. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.28.110601.141107

Lamont, Michèle. 2012. “Towards a Comparative Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation.” Annual Review of Sociology 38: 201–221. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-120022

Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.

Laufer, Romain, and Catherine Paradeise. 1982. Le Prince bureaucrate. Paris: Flammarion.

Lesourne, Jacques. 1991. Economie de l’ordre et du désordre. Paris: Economica.

Lizé, Wenceslas, Delphine Naudier and Olivier Roueff, eds. 2011. Intermédiaires du travail artistique: A la frontière de l’art et du commerce. La documentation Française, Questions de culture.

Mallard, Alexandre. 2000. “La presse de consommation et le marché. Enquête sur le tiers consumériste.” Sociologie du travail 42 (3): 391–411. DOI: 10.1016/S0038-0296(00)01087-6

Marchal, Emmanuelle, Kevin Mellet, and Géraldine Rieucau. 2007. “Job Board Toolkits: Internet Matchmaking and Changes in Job Advertisements.” Human Relations, 60 (7): 1091–1113. DOI: 10.1177/0018726707081159

McVey, Philip. 1960. “Are Channels of Distribution What the Textbooks Say?” Journal of Marketing 24 (3): 61–65. DOI: 10.2307/1248710

Mears, Ashley. 2011. “Pricing Looks: Circuits of Value in Fashion Modeling Markets.” In The Worth of Goods: Valuation and Pricing in the Economy, edited by Jens Beckert and Patrick Aspers, 155–177. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Meyer, Morgan. 2010. “The Rise of the Knowledge Broker.” Science Communication 32 (1): 118–127. DOI: 10.1177/1075547009359797

Montagne, Sabine. 2009. “Le court-termisme institutionnalisé: les effets de la gestion de portefeuille déléguée.” Revue d’Economie Financière, special issue: 417–432.

Muniesa, Fabien. 2011. “A Flank Movement in the Understanding of Valuation.” The Sociological Review 59: 24–38. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2012.02056.x

Nay, Olivier and Andy Smith. 2002. “Les intermédiaires en politique: médiations et jeux d’institutions.” In Le gouvernement du compromis, edited by Olivier Nay and Andy Smith, 47–86. Paris: Economica.

Nooteboom, Bart. 2000. Inter-Firm Alliances, Analysis and Design. London: Routledge.

Orléan, André. 2009. De l’euphorie à la panique: comment penser la crise financière. Paris: Editions Rue d’Ulm.

Orléan, André. 2011. L’empire de la valeur-Refonder l’économie. Paris: Seuil.

Rees, Albert. 1966. “Labor Economics: Effects of More Knowledge. Information Networks in Labor Markets.” American Economic Review Papers Proceedings 56 (2): 559–566.

Reynaud, Bénédicte. 1992. Le salaire, la règle et le marché. Paris: Christian Bourgois.

Rinallo, Diego, and Francesca Golfetto. 2006. “Representing Markets: The Shaping of Fashion Trends by French and Italian Fabric Companies.” Industrial Marketing Management 35 (7): 856–869. DOI: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2006.05.015

Roth, Alvin, and Xiaolin Xing. 1994. “Jumping the Gun: Imperfections and Institutions Related to the Timing of Market Transactions.” American Economic Review 84 (4): 992–1044.

Roth, Alvin. 2007. “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21 (3): 37–58. DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.3.37

Rubinstein, Ariel, and Asher Wolinsky. 1987. “Middlemen.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 102: 581–593. DOI. 10.2307/1884218

Shaw, Arch. 1912. “Some Problems in Market Distribution.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 26 (4): 703–765. DOI: 10.2307/1883802

Spence, Michael. 1973. “Job Market Signaling.” The Quaterly Journal of Economics 87 (3): 355–374. DOI: 10.2307/1882010

Spulber, Daniel. 1996. “Market Microstructure and Intermediation.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 10 (3): 135–152. DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.3.135

Stark, David. 2009. The Sense of Dissonance. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Stark, David. 2011. “What’s Valuable?” In The Worth of Goods: Valuation and Pricing in the Economy, edited by Jens Beckert and Patrick Aspers, 319–338. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Steiner, Philippe. 2008. “Le marché comme arène et les technologies sociales d’appariement.” Sciences de la société 73: 41–62.

Stigler, Georges. 1962. “Information in the Labour Market.” Journal of Political Economy 70: 94–105. DOI: 10.1086/258727

Suchman, Mark. 2000. “Dealmakers and Counselors: Law Firms as Intermediaries in the Development of Silicon Valley.” In Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region, edited by Martin Kenny. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Swedberg, Richard. 2003. Principles of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Vatin, François, ed. 2009. Evaluer et valoriser: Une sociologie économique de la mesure. Toulouse: PU Mirail.

Williamson, Oliver. 1985. The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting. New York: Macmillan, The Free Press.

Yavas, Abdullah. 1992. “Marketmakers versus Matchmakers.” Journal of Financial Intermediation 2: 33–58. DOI: 10.1016/1042-9573(92)90019-A

Zafirau, Stephen. 2008. “Reputation Work in Selling Film and Television: Life in the Hollywood Talent Industry.” Qualitative Sociology 31: 99–127.

Volume 1, Issue: 1, Article 5, 2013

Christian Bessy, Pierre-Marie Chauvin
The Power of Market Intermediaries: From Information to Valuation Processes:
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
  • Victoriya Salomon (2016). Emergent models of financial intermediation for innovative companies: from venture capital to crowdinvesting platforms in Switzerland. Venture Capital, 18(1): 21. DOI: 10.1080/13691066.2015.1079953
  • Vincent Cardon (2016). Produire « l’évidence ». Le travail d’appariement et de recrutement dans le monde du cinéma. Sociologie du Travail, 58(2): 160. DOI: 10.1016/j.soctra.2016.03.019
  • Stefan Ouma (2014). Situating global finance in the Land Rush Debate: A critical review. Geoforum, 57: 162. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.09.006
  • Nadine Arnol & Raimund Hasse (2017). Die Organisation von Wertzuschreibungen: Zur Bedeutung von Drittparteien für die Signalisierung moralischer Qualitäten in Märkten. Berliner Journal für Soziologie, : . DOI: 10.1007/s11609-017-0322-x
  • Kevin Mellet, Thomas Beauvisage, Jean-Samuel Beuscar & Marie Trespeuch (2014). A “Democratization” of Markets? Online Consumer Reviews in the Restaurant Industry. Valuation Studies, 2(1): 125. DOI: 10.3384/vs.2001-5992.14215
  • Erwin Dekker (2015). Two approaches to study the value of art and culture, and the emergence of a third. Journal of Cultural Economics, 39(4): 309. DOI: 10.1007/s10824-014-9237-y
  • Jean-Samuel Beuscart, Kevin Melle & Marie Trespeuch (2016). Reactivity without legitimacy? Online consumer reviews in the restaurant industry. Journal of Cultural Economy, 9(5): 458. DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2016.1210534
  • Antoine Ducaste & Ward Anseeuw (2017). Agriculture as an asset class: reshaping the South African farming sector. Agriculture and Human Values, 34(1): 199. DOI: 10.1007/s10460-016-9683-6
  • Sara Malou Strandvad (2014). Contingencies of Value: Devices and Conventions at a Design School Admission Test. Valuation Studies, 2(2): 119. DOI: 10.3384/vs.2001-5992.1422119
  • Violaine Roussel (2015). Une économie des émotions. La Nouvelle Revue du Travail, (6): . DOI: 10.4000/nrt.2117
  • Professor Chris Carter, Professor Crawford Sp, Neil Polloc & Robin Williams (2015). Industry analysts – how to conceptualise the distinctive new forms of IT market expertise?. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 28(8): 1373. DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-03-2015-1989
  • M. Meye & M. Kearnes (2013). Introduction to special section: Intermediaries between science, policy and the market. Science and Public Policy, 40(4): 423. DOI: 10.1093/scipol/sct051
  • Sidonie Naulin (2015). Se faire un nom. Les ressorts de la singularisation des critiques gastronomiques. Sociologie du Travail, 57(3): 322. DOI: 10.1016/j.soctra.2015.06.001
  • Sharon Koppman (2015). In the Eye of the Beholder: The Stratification of Taste in a Cultural Industry. The Sociological Quarterly, 56(4): 665. DOI: 10.1111/tsq.12098
  • Martin Kornberger (2017). The Values of Strategy: Valuation Practices, Rivalry and Strategic Agency. Organization Studies, : 017084061668536. DOI: 10.1177/0170840616685365
  • Export in BibTex, RIS or text