Dispute Landscape & Market Governance
The Bangladesh Agricultural Value Chains project identified a need to better understand the dispute landscape and market governance system of Bangladesh in order to effectively work plan appropriate interventions relative to the domestic market. The Market Governance Assessment began as an investigation into the frequency, acuteness, and resolution of disputes between market-actors within USAID’s zone of influence. Disputes are a common expression of behavior emerging from the complex relationships and transactions inherent in market systems. The presence of disputes is neither good nor bad, however, by looking at how frequently disputes occur, their underlying causes, and the avenues for recourse and resolution, we can begin to probe and sense the effectiveness of a market’s governance structure.
Through key informant interviews and focus group discussions with a variety of market actors, we surveyed the landscape of disputes and learned that acute or “hot” disputes (e.g. disagreements that escalate in intensity, often pushing the parties toward more entrenched positions) rarely occur between upstream market actors. Although “hot” disputes rarely surface, we uncovered behavior patterns (lack of transparency and codification of standards, reluctant use of written agreements, extractive and predatory lending) indicative of market systems that are less inclusive.