The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews


'coincidence of wants' can also refer to...


More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Social sciences
  • Economics


Show Summary Details


coincidence of wants

Quick Reference

When two parties each hold goods that the other party wishes to have. This is the condition for a barter transaction to be agreed upon. In the absence of money, if an agent wants to trade good A for good B, they have to find another agent willing to trade good B for good A. This is achieved when there is a coincidence of wants. The inconvenience of this led to the rise of professional traders, acquiring goods they did not want for themselves but could exchange again, and to the use of money as a medium of exchange.

Subjects: Social sciencesEconomics

Reference entries