Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Understanding the Role of Trade-Ins in Durable Goods Markets: Theory and Evidence

Contents:

Author Info

  • Raghunath Singh Rao

    ()
    (McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712)

  • Om Narasimhan

    ()
    (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455)

  • George John

    ()
    (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The act of trading in a used car as partial payment for a new car resonates with practically all consumers. Such transactions are prevalent in many other durable goods markets, ranging from golf clubs to CT scanners. What roles do trade-ins play in these markets? What motivates the seller to set up a channel to facilitate trade-ins? Intuitively, accepting a trade-in would appear to stimulate demand for the producer's product, but facilitating the resale of these used goods that substitute for new goods might also increase cannibalization. Although such transactions involve billions of dollars, we know relatively little about this practice from the extant research literature. This paper develops an analytical model that incorporates key features of real-world durable goods markets: (i) coexistence of new and used goods markets, (ii) consumer heterogeneity with respect to quality sensitivity, (iii) firms that anticipate the cannibalization problem arising from the coexistence of new and used goods, and (iv) lemon problems in resale markets, whereby sellers of used goods are better informed than buyers about the quality of their particular item. In our analysis, a trade-in policy amounts to an intervention by the firm in the used goods market, which reduces inefficiencies arising from the lemon problem. It motivates owners to purchase new goods and reduces their proclivity to hold on to purchased goods because of the low price the latter would fetch in a lemon market. We also show that trade-in programs are more valuable for less reliable products, as well as for products that deteriorate more slowly. Our analysis shows that producers in durable goods markets should consider trade-in programs as a matter of routine. Despite cannibalization concerns arising from a more active resale market, a producer's profits will inevitably rise from introducing trade-ins, given pervasive lemon problems. We test the key predictions of the model about price and volume of trade by assembling a data set of transactions of U.S. automobile consumers and find broad support for our model.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1080.0461
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Marketing Science.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 5 (09-10)
    Pages: 950-967

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:5:p:950-967

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.informs.org/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: durable goods; trade-ins; adverse selection; game theory;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:5:p:950-967. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.