“Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries” is an excellent book that skillfully demolishes myths about markets, money and globalization

(Open access to the first chapter)
In countries without a history of economic stability, how can banks decide who should be given a credit card? How do markets convince people to use cards, make their transactions visible to authorities, assume the potential risk of fraud, and pay to use their own money? Why should merchants agree to pay extra if customers use cards instead of cash?
This excellent study by Akos Rona-Tas and Alya Guseva tells the story of how banks overcame these and other quandaries as they constructed markets for credit cards in eight postcommunist countries. We know how markets work once they are built, but this book develops a unique framework for understanding how markets are engineered from the ground up—by selecting key players, ensuring cooperation, and providing conditions for the valuation of a product. Drawing on extensive interviews and fieldwork, the authors chronicle how cbanks overcame these hurdles and generated a desire for their new product in the midst of a transition from communism to capitalism. This enlightening book is an important theoretical and empirical contribution to economic sociology.

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