The Economic Impact of the Suitcase Trade on Foreign Trade: A Regional Analysis of the Laleli Market

  •  Kenan Aydin    
  •  Lacin Oztig    
  •  Emrah Bulut    


Previous studies have analyzed the suitcase trade from global, state-centric and local perspectives. While the first two categories of studies analyzed the economic impacts of the suitcase trade from global and state-centric perspectives, other studies analyzed the cultural implications of the suitcase trade. This is the first systematic study to analyze the economic impact of the emergence, increase and decrease of the suitcase trade on suitcase traders. Specifically, this study analyzes the dynamics of the suitcase trade between Turkey, the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Republics on foreign trade. Individuals from different sectors (wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers) constitute the target group of this study. Surveys and focus group interviews serve as our data. The data covers the period from 1990 to 2013. Surveys were completed by 257 people from firms which participated in the suitcase trade in the Laleli market-Turkish market place for the suitcase trade. Focus group interviews were conducted with 16 people in a conversational style. This exploratory study contributes to the body of empirical evidence by analyzing the changing dynamics of the suitcase trade. The study concludes with policy proposals to tackle local, regional and global challenges of the suitcase trade.

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