NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Equilibrium Price Dynamics in Perishable Goods Markets: The Case of Secondary Markets for Major League Baseball Tickets

Andrew Sweeting

NBER Working Paper No. 14505
Issued in November 2008
NBER Program(s):   IO

This paper analyzes the dynamics of prices in two online secondary markets for Major League Baseball tickets. Controlling for ticket quality, prices tend to decline significantly as a game approaches. The paper describes and tests alternative theoretical explanations for why this happens in equilibrium, considering the problems of both buyers and sellers. It shows that sellers cut prices (either fixed prices or reserve prices in auctions) because of declining opportunity costs of holding onto tickets as their future selling opportunities disappear. Even though prices can be expected to fall, the majority of observed early purchases can be rationalized by plausible ticket valuations and return to market costs given product differentiation and uncertainties about ticket availability.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14505

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