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Business-to-business Information Sharing: Empirical Evidence from Lagos Trader Networks

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Information barriers can prohibit trade. This paper empirically documents the existence of
business-to-business information sharing between small firm traders in Lagos, Nigeria.
Sharing information about availability of new products and styles is more common than sharing
information about actual suppliers (introduction, pricing, and problems). Traders are more
likely to share information with those closer to them geographically and in characteristics
(experience, product type). However, traders report concerns about competition (as well as
the usefulness of information) as key barriers to sharing. Relationships are almost always
bidirectional. However, traders report altruism and societal pressure as key reasons for
sharing over any interpersonal reciprocity, with almost no traders mentioning spot payments.
Business size is negatively associated with information sharing in this context. Future research
that more rigorously explores the determinants of trade information diffusion may be fruitful in
cost effective mitigation strategies to improve trade flows for small firm owners.

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