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A Marketing Scheme for Making Money off Innocent People: A User's Manual


  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell University)


Firms often give away free goods with the product that they sell. Firms often give stock options to their top management and other employees. Mixing these two practices--giving stock options to consumers who buy the firm's product--, creates a deadly brew. Large numbers of consumers can be lured into buying this product, giving the entrepreneur huge profits and the consumers a growing profit share. But this is a camouflaged Ponzi that will ultimately crash. By analogy it is argued that the common practice of giving stock options to employees can be a factor behind financial crashes.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Kaushik, 2009. "A Marketing Scheme for Making Money off Innocent People: A User's Manual," Working Papers 09-09, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:09-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dilip Abreu & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2003. "Bubbles and Crashes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 173-204, January.
    2. Shell, Karl, 1971. "Notes on the Economics of Infinity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(5), pages 1002-1011, Sept.-Oct.
    3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1979. "Equilibrium in supergames with the overtaking criterion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-9, August.
    4. Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2008. "Money Pumps in the Market," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 237-253, March.
    5. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-1181, September.
    6. Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena, 2008. "The role of liquidity in financial crises," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 379-412.
    7. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kaushik Basu, 2009. "A Simple Model of the Financial Crisis of 2007-9 with Implications for the Design of a Stimulus Package," Working Papers id:2179, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General

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