IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v159y2019icp426-441.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The economic functioning of online drugs markets

Author

Listed:
  • Bhaskar, V.
  • Linacre, Robin
  • Machin, Stephen

Abstract

The economic functioning of online drug markets using data scraped from online platforms is studied. Analysis of over 1.5 million online drugs sales shows online drugs markets tend to function without the significant moral hazard problems that, a priori, one might think would plague them. Only a small proportion of online drugs deals receive bad ratings from buyers, and online markets suffer less from problems of adulteration and low quality that are a common feature of street sales of illegal drugs. Furthermore, as with legal online markets, the market penalizes bad ratings, which subsequently lead to significant sales reductions and to market exit. The impact of the well-known seizure by law enforcement of the original Silk Road and the shutdown of Silk Road 2.0 are also studied, together with the exit scam of the market leader at the time, Evolution. There is no evidence that these exits deterred buyers or sellers from online drugs trading, as new platforms rapidly replaced those taken down, with the online market for drugs continuing to grow.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhaskar, V. & Linacre, Robin & Machin, Stephen, 2019. "The economic functioning of online drugs markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 426-441.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:426-441
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.07.022
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268117302007
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Manolis Galenianos & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Nicola Persico, 2012. "A Search-Theoretic Model of the Retail Market for Illicit Drugs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1239-1269.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    4. Alberto Cavallo, 2017. "Are Online and Offline Prices Similar? Evidence from Large Multi-channel Retailers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(1), pages 283-303, January.
    5. Rainer Böhme & Nicolas Christin & Benjamin Edelman & Tyler Moore, 2015. "Bitcoin: Economics, Technology, and Governance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    6. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    7. Manolis Galenianos & Alessandro Gavazza, 2017. "A Structural Model of the Retail Market for Illicit Drugs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 858-896, March.
    8. Parey, Matthias & Rasul, Imran, 2017. "Measuring the Market Size for Cannabis: A New Approach Using Forensic Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 12161, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. John J. Donohue III & Benjamin Ewing & David Pelopquin, 2010. "Rethinking America's Illegal Drug Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 215-281 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. N/A, 2012. "Letter to the editor," International Journal of Social Psychiatry, , vol. 58(4), pages 449-450, July.
    11. Luís Cabral & Ali Hortaçsu, 2010. "The Dynamics Of Seller Reputation: Evidence From Ebay," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 54-78, March.
    12. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jakub Cerveny & Jan van Ours, 2019. "Cannabis Prices on the Dark Web," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-059/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Cerveny, Jakub & van Ours, Jan C., 2019. "Cannabis Prices on the Dark Web," CEPR Discussion Papers 13933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dark web; Drugs;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:426-441. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.