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Complementary currencies, short distribution channels, and digitalisation

Abstract : This thesis proposes an analysis of the potential of local complementary currencies (hereafter local currencies) in addressing major problems concerning sustainability and technological innovation at the local level through different perspectives. The first chapter examines the application of an emerging technology, which is the blockchain, to manage local currencies. They are used to promote objectives such as short distribution channels, high quality products, and sustainable behaviours at the local level. The first part of this chapter exposes how the blockchain can help solve traditional issues related to local currencies and how the growing digitalisation trend of the latter calls for better technological solutions to ensure low costs, security, and scalability. We analyse how the model of a blockchain-based local currency would operate from an economic perspective. The choice of a proper governance (consensus) protocol matters in this case, but so do the incentives of agents such as miners and validators to participate in the process. The second part of chapter 1 proposes a theoretical setting to analyse the possibility of implementing a Proof of Work protocol to local currencies. Analytical results evaluate the conditions of sustainability of the system and numerical simulations from the model illustrate the diverse specifications of the trade-offs between the costs and advantages of such system for the population: a management via a PoW protocol is feasible in different stages of development for local currencies. The second chapter explores the potential of local currencies in promoting short distribution channels and in serving as a signalling tool for high quality products. In this regard, local currencies should help consumers and residents of the city adopt new consumption habits, and retailers to switch from selling standard goods to selling higher quality ones. Additionally, the conditions of emergence and spatial distribution of stores selling organic food that are produced locally, in different models of cities are fostered by local currencies. We elaborate on this basis, extensions of the Hotelling spatial setting and consider for different models of cities the possible location of shops capable of proposing organic products. The scenarios of cities are studied with and without the presence of a local currency. Reconversion of local currencies to legal tender plays a crucial role in guaranteeing product quality since the conditions and costs to reconvert are the underlying mechanics that ensure the function of signalling effect in our model. The third chapter is devoted to an original empirical study on the intrinsic factors influencing the adoption of a local currency by delving in the case of the city of Cagnes-sur-Mer: the Renoir local currency. Our approach consists in addressing the problem by studying the characteristics and preferences of respondents for some of our variables of interest and establish a model capable of predicting the adoption or not of the currency. Estimation results reveal the importance of factors proper to individuals such as the sense of solidarity, interest in community activities, and experience in alternative economic movements in the adoption of a local currency. Socio-demographic characteristics such as sex, marital status, and income level also seem to play an important role. This exploratory study addresses the subject from the consumer side, provides recommendations for the development of the Renoir, and contributes to the literature on the adoption of social and technological innovations. The findings of this thesis provide novel and stimulating insights on the application of a foundational technology to a specific payment system that is a local currency, on the way the latter can serve as a signalling tool for product quality, and on the studies of its determinants of adoption.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 3, 2021 - 3:56:18 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:45:37 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03334287, version 1


Sothearath Seang. Complementary currencies, short distribution channels, and digitalisation. Economics and Finance. Université Côte d'Azur, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021COAZ0013⟩. ⟨tel-03334287⟩



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