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Dividing Online and Offline: A Case Study


  • Ginger Zhe Jin
  • Andrew Kato


Every new method of trade offers an opportunity for economic agents to compare its costs and benefits relative to the status quo. Such comparison motivates sorting across market segments and reshapes the whole marketplace. The Internet provides an excellent example: it introduces substantial search cost savings over brick and mortar retail stores but imposes new obstacles for sellers to convey quality. Using sports card trading as a case study, we provide empirical evidence on (1) the sorting of product quality between the online and offline segments, (2) the changes for retail outlets after the Internet came into place, and (3) how supporting industries such as professional grading and card manufacturing adapted to take advantage of the new market. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2007. "Dividing Online and Offline: A Case Study," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 981-1004.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:981-1004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 521-539, December.
    2. Ginger Jin & Andrew Kato, 2004. "Consumer frauds and the uninformed: Evidence from an online field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00275, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    4. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1991. "Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 977-1009, October.
    5. Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2002. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 481-507, June.
    6. Goolsbee, Austan, 2001. "Competition in the Computer Industry: Online versus Retail," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 487-499, December.
    7. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-665, August.
    8. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    9. Lucking-Reiley, David, 2000. "Auctions on the Internet: What's Being Auctioned, and How?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 227-252, September.
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