Market participants

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In microeconomics , market participants are economic subjects who appear as suppliers or buyers in a market .


Economic subjects are consumers ( private households ), companies , the state and foreign countries (through exporters and importers ). In a broader sense also include intermediaries such as trading with market participants, he is in the aggregate contain the company. These market participants exchange goods and / or services in a certain market as a result of a previous decision . You are subject to more or less strict rules of market behavior ( market regulation ) in order to ensure the functionality of a market. Unfair behavior is therefore not permitted if it noticeably affects the protected interests of market participants and the general public ( Section 3 UWG ). The market behavior rules can be based on unwritten trading customs , standardized trading clauses , stock exchange practices , but also on strict legal rules ( stock exchange law , stock exchange regulations ). According to § 1 UWG, market participants are protected against unfair business transactions by fair trading law. Since the market cannot be the bearer of its own rights, it must be protected by other interest groups . There are therefore sovereign control measures such as market approval rules (e.g. licensing obligations for health professions or for credit institutions or insurance companies ) and / or public regulatory authorities ( Federal Network Agency , BaFin ; see list of regulatory authorities ). Your job is to market regulation to a market failure to prevent. The protection of the market participants themselves can be guaranteed through consumer protection , for example.

Number of market participants

The number of market participants in a certain market determines its market shape . A single large market participant is a monopoly , a few medium-sized players form an oligopoly and many small ones are a polypole . Heinrich von Stackelberg presented this division for the first time in 1934, differentiating between providers (supply monopoly) and buyers (demand monopoly) etc. These types of market determine the intensity of competition in a market. The positioning of an individual market participant results from their market power , with which they can exert more or less influence on the market price . Market power, in turn, is usually measured in terms of company size or market share and consists of supply or buyer power. According to this, market participants have market power if they can exert a significant influence on the market price as a result of a significant market share in the presence of barriers to market entry.

Behavior of market participants

An entry can be used for potential entrants through market barriers more difficult or even prevented, optionally with market entry strategies must be overcome. If a market entry has been successful, the market participants must obtain information about the market, the trading object and other market participants and align the information value with the information costs on which it is based , unless market data is available free of charge. The procurement of information when preparing the decision is only efficient until the marginal costs of the last information correspond to its marginal utility . Then they have obtained market transparency that enables a buying or selling decision. Market participants make their decisions (buy or sell) based on the market data they have previously collected and market developments . They are influenced by their preferences . You use your own action parameters ( price , quantity , product quality ), must take into account the reactions of other market participants as reaction parameters ( decisions of the competition , time of purchase by customers ) and accept the data parameters resulting from the state of the environment ( laws affecting the market , weather conditions ). Market participants align their behavior with their goals . The goals of market participants are mostly profit maximization on the supplier side and benefit maximization for buyers .

Market participants in sub-markets

The nature and behavior of market participants are the same in all markets. It is therefore irrelevant whether the market participants are on a goods market ( consumer goods , commodities or capital goods ), money market ( overnight and term money trading , foreign exchange market ), capital market ( stock market , bond market ), stock exchange ( futures exchange , commodity exchange ), health market or art market . On modern stock exchanges, the providers ( issuers ) and buyers ( investors ) are represented by stock exchange traders , the standardized trading objects ( stocks , bonds , foreign exchange ) are stored elsewhere, the stock exchange prices are not negotiated between the providers and buyers, but leave this to the stockbrokers . Therefore, suppliers and buyers on stock exchanges are considered indirect market participants.

In complex markets, it is difficult for individual market participants to achieve a high level of market transparency. For example, market participants in the healthcare market include patients , service providers (e.g. general practitioners , hospitals , pharmacies , physiotherapists , health insurance companies ) and pharmaceutical companies . The latter offer prescription and non-prescription preparations, so that overall market transparency can be classified as extremely low. Both the number of market participants involved and the number of commercial items and their assessment ( indication , package insert ) make it difficult for doctors and patients to achieve adequate market transparency. On the other hand, there is a high level of transparency in markets where the number of providers and products is manageable, such as on the mineral oil market .

Individual evidence

  1. Dörte Poelzig, Enforcement of Norms through Private Law , 2012, p. 77
  2. Dörte Poelzig , Enforcement of Laws through Private Law , 2012, p. 400
  3. ^ Heinrich von Stackelberg, Market Form and Equilibrium , 1934, p. 2
  4. Michael Meyer, Influence and Effect of Buyer Power on Price Decisions , 2016, p. 8 ff.
  5. Bernd Woeckener, Volkswirtschaftslehre , 2013, p. 115
  6. ^ Tilman Breitkreuz, The Order of the Stock Exchange , 2000, p. 47
  7. Hannes Merten, The German Health System - Terminally Ill? , 2015, p. 73
  8. Patrick Schwan, The informed consumer? , 2009, p. 85