System boundaries

Where does a market system begin and end?

Often it is hard to agree on the actors involved and where the boundaries of a market system lie. Even if there is a clear core chain of actors, the supporting functions and rules may be more difficult to untangle.

For example, informal rules about gender roles in markets may be shaped by traditions perpetuated by individuals and organisations far removed from the core market players themselves. 

Many supporting services could, in principle, be analysed as separate market systems in their own right, with their own chains and rules. In practice, you have to draw a line somewhere – and that is typically around the features that are most influential and most amenable to change.