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Patterns of Trade in the Market for Used Durables: Theory and Evidence

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  • Robert H. Porter
  • Peter Sattler

Abstract

The consumption value of a durable good diminishes as it ages due to physical deterioration and consumers' preference for the new. We develop a model of consumer specialization and trade in the market for used durables based on imperfect substitutability. Imperfect substitutability across vintages is reflected in a declining market price over time. Heterogeneous consumers maximize utility by specializing in durables of differing ages. Consumers must trade to acquire their preferred vintage each period. When there are transaction costs in the secondhand market, the volume of trade due to specialization increases with imperfect substitutability. We examine the determinants of vehicle ownership transfers in Illinois, a measure of trade volume. Observed patterns of trade across automobile model years are consistent with our model, and inconsistent with a model of adverse selection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7149.

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Date of creation: May 1999
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Publication status: published as With Kenneth Hendricks, published as "Bidding Behaviour in OCS Drainage Auctions: Theory and Evidence", European Economic Review, Vol. 37, nos. 2/3 (1993): 320-328.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7149

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  1. Waldman, Michael, 1997. "Eliminating the Market for Secondhand Goods: An Alternative Explanation for Leasing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 61-92, April.
  2. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 1997. "Adverse Selection in Durable Goods Markets," NBER Working Papers 6194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-49, April.
  4. Benjamin, Daniel K & Kormendi, Roger C, 1974. "The Interrelationship between Markets for New and Used Durable Goods," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 381-401, October.
  5. Bruce W Hamilton & Molly Macauley, 1996. "Competition and Car Longevity," Economics Working Paper Archive 361, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  6. Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "Durable-Goods Monopolists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 314-32, April.
  7. Miller, H Laurence, Jr, 1974. "On Killing off the Market for Used Textbooks and the Relationship between Markets for New and Secondhand Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(3), pages 612-19, May/June.
  8. Waldman, Michael, 1993. "A New Perspective on Planned Obsolescence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 273-83, February.
  9. Varian, Hal R, 2000. "Buying, Sharing and Renting Information Goods," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 473-88, December.
  10. Bond, Eric W, 1982. "A Direct Test of the "Lemons" Model: The Market for Used Pickup Trucks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 836-40, September.
  11. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  12. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-65, August.
  13. Liebowitz, S J, 1982. "Durability, Market Structure, and New-Used Goods Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 816-24, September.
  14. Devavrat Purohit, 1992. "Exploring the Relationship Between the Markets for New and Used Durable Goods: The Case of Automobiles," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(2), pages 154-167.
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Cited by:
  1. Sofronis Clerides, 2004. "Gains from Trade in Used Goods: Evidence from the Global Market for Automobiles," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 6-2004, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  2. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2006. "Second-Hand Markets and Collusion by Manufacturers of Semidurable Goods," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-028, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  3. Maxim Engers & Monica Hartmann & Steven Stern, 2009. "Annual miles drive used car prices," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 1-33.
  4. Michael Waldman, 2003. "Durable Goods Theory for Real World Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 131-154, Winter.
  5. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2011. "Automobile replacement: a dynamic structural approach," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(2), pages 266-291, 06.
  6. Bruce A. Blonigen & Christopher R. Knittel & Anson Soderbery, 2013. "Keeping it Fresh: Strategic Product Redesigns and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 18997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gavazza, Alessandro & Lizzeri, Alessandro & Rokestkiy, Nikita, 2012. "A quantitative analysis of the used-car market," MPRA Paper 38414, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Clerides, Sofronis & Hadjiyiannis, Costas, 2008. "Quality standards for used durables: An indirect subsidy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 268-282, July.
  9. Engers, Maxim & Hartmann, Monica & Stern, Steven, 2009. "Are lemons really hot potatoes?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 250-263, March.
  10. Eisfeldt, Andrea L. & Rampini, Adriano A., 2007. "New or used? Investment with credit constraints," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2656-2681, November.
  11. Antonio R. Sampayo & Luis A. Puch & Omar Licandro, 2006. "Secondhand market and the lifetime of durable goods," Working Papers 2006-10, FEDEA.
  12. Kumar, Praveen, 2002. "Price and quality discrimination in durable goods monopoly with resale trading," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1313-1339, November.
  13. Aronsson, Thomas & Sjögren, Tomas & Witterblad, Mikael, 2008. "Optimal Taxation and Asymmetric Information in an Economy with Second-Hand Trade," UmeÃ¥ Economic Studies 732, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  14. Chen, Jiawei & Esteban, Susanna & Shum, Matthew, 2010. "Do sales tax credits stimulate the automobile market?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 397-402, July.

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