Regulations, brokers, and interlinkages: The institutional organization of wholesale markets in India
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There is a vigorous debate on the liberalisation of heavily regulated agricultural markets in India. A crucial institutional characteristic is the role of state regulated brokers in wholesale markets. Relying on data from a unique survey in Uttarakhand, a state in North India, we find that regulations on margins are ineffective as most brokers charge rates that significantly exceed the regulated ones. We also find that a majority of farmers self-select into long-term relationships with brokers. These relationships allow some of the farmers to interlink credit and insurance markets to the agricultural output market. This interlinkage does however not appear to be an instrument for farmer exploitation (as it does not lead to worse inputs, high interest rates, or lower implicit output prices), but is seemingly an extra service by brokers as to establish farmer loyalty to them and thus to ensure future supplies.
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