IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Cobweb dynamics and price dispersion in illicit drug markets

  • Caulkins, Jonathan P.
  • Baker, David
Registered author(s):

    Extreme price dispersion is a hallmark of illegal drug markets, and this apparent contradiction to the law of one price has long puzzled drug market economists. We propose a novel explanation for this dispersion: the coupling of dealers' unwillingness to hold inventory with dealers' imperfect foresight concerning future prices and/or random lead times when "ordering" drugs from higher-level suppliers. Unwillingness to hold inventory means drug markets might operate consistent with a cobweb model. The classic cobweb model was inspired by the observation of cyclic (typically annual) fluctuations in commodity prices. However, with minor changes that make the model more realistic the resulting price trajectories can be highly variable or even chaotic, not just periodic. Cobweb dynamics can also amplify the variability created by supply chain disruptions.

    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://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V6Y-50H1WRX-1/2/43e4aaf0858ce9b2fbcc0c193bdc5d0a
    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 under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Socio-Economic Planning Sciences.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 220-230

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:44:y:2010:i:4:p:220-230
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/seps

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
    2. Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman & John A. Tauras, 1998. "The Demand for Cocaine and Marijuana by Youth," NBER Working Papers 6411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman & John A. Tauras, 1999. "The Demand for Cocaine and Marijuana by Youth," NBER Chapters, in: The Economic Analysis of Substance Use and Abuse: An Integration of Econometrics and Behavioral Economic Research, pages 133-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Steven D. Levitt & Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, 2000. "An Economic Analysis Of A Drug-Selling Gang'S Finances," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 755-789, August.
    4. Fildes, Robert, 1992. "The evaluation of extrapolative forecasting methods," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 81-98, June.
    5. Walsh, Patrick Paul & Whelan, Ciara, 1999. "Modelling Price Dispersion as an Outcome of Competition in the Irish Grocery Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 325-43, September.
    6. Dhaval Dave, 2004. "The Effects of Cocaine and Heroin Prices on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits," NBER Working Papers 10619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Goeree, Jacob K. & Hommes, Cars H., 2000. "Heterogeneous beliefs and the non-linear cobweb model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(5-7), pages 761-798, June.
    8. Dave, Dhaval, 2008. "Illicit drug use among arrestees, prices and policy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 694-714, March.
    9. Clay, Karen & Krishnan, Ramayya & Wolff, Eric, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 521-39, December.
    10. Frank Chen & Zvi Drezner & Jennifer K. Ryan & David Simchi-Levi, 2000. "Quantifying the Bullwhip Effect in a Simple Supply Chain: The Impact of Forecasting, Lead Times, and Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(3), pages 436-443, March.
    11. Hommes, Cars H., 1991. "Adaptive learning and roads to chaos : The case of the cobweb," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 127-132, June.
    12. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
    13. Hommes, Cars H., 1998. "On the consistency of backward-looking expectations: The case of the cobweb," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(3-4), pages 333-362, January.
    14. Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1022, Society for Computational Economics.
    15. Salop, S & Stiglitz, J E, 1982. "The Theory of Sales: A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Identical Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1121-30, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:44:y:2010:i:4:p:220-230. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.