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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert H. Porter & Peter Sattler, 1999. "Patterns of Trade in the Market for Used Durables: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7149 Note: IO
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Blonigen, Bruce A. & Knittel, Christopher R. & Soderbery, Anson, 2017. "Keeping it fresh: Strategic product redesigns and welfare," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 170-214.
    2. Aronsson, Thomas & Sjögren, Tomas & Witterblad, Mikael, 2008. "Optimal Taxation and Asymmetric Information in an Economy with Second-Hand Trade," Umeå Economic Studies 732, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    3. Mark J. Garmaise & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 2002. "Confronting Information Asymmetries: Evidence from Real Estate Markets," NBER Working Papers 8877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri & Nikita Roketskiy, 2014. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Used-Car Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3668-3700, November.
    5. Raghunath Singh Rao & Om Narasimhan & George John, 2009. "Understanding the Role of Trade-Ins in Durable Goods Markets: Theory and Evidence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(5), pages 950-967, 09-10.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Donner, Herman & Kopsch, Fredrik, 2016. "Housing Tenure and Informational Asymmetries," Working Paper Series 16/3, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Centre for Banking and Finance (cefin).
    9. 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.
    10. Alexandre Mas, 2008. "Labour Unrest and the Quality of Production: Evidence from the Construction Equipment Resale Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 229-258.
    11. 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.
    12. Lacourbe, Paul, 2016. "Durable goods leasing in the presence of exporting used products to an international secondary market," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 250(2), pages 448-456.
    13. Thomas W. Gilligan, 2004. "Lemons and Leases in the Used Business Aircraft Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1157-1186, October.
    14. 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.
    15. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2011. "Automobile replacement: a dynamic structural approach," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(2), pages 266-291, June.
    16. Tilson, Vera & Zheng, Xiaobo, 2014. "Monopoly production and pricing of finitely durable goods with strategic consumers׳ fluctuating willingness to pay," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 217-232.
    17. 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.
    18. Michael Waldman, 2003. "Durable Goods Theory for Real World Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 131-154, Winter.
    19. 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.
    20. Majid, Kashef Abdul & Russell, Cristel Antonia, 2015. "Giving green a second thought: Modeling the value retention of green products in the secondary market," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 994-1002.
    21. Antonio R. Sampayo & Luis A. Puch & Omar Licandro, 2006. "Secondhand market and the lifetime of durable goods," Working Papers 2006-10, FEDEA.
    22. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment

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