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Project Citation: 

Budish, Eric, and Bhave, Aditya. Data and Code for: Primary-Market Auctions for Event Tickets: Eliminating the Rents of “Bob the Broker”? Nashville, TN: American Economic Association [publisher], 2023. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-01-30.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary Economists have long been puzzled by event-ticket underpricing: underpricing reduces revenue for the performer, and encourages socially wasteful rent-seeking by ticket brokers. What about using an auction? This paper studies the mid-00's introduction of auctions into this market by Ticketmaster. By combining primary-market auction data from Ticketmaster with secondary-market resale value data from eBay, we show that Ticketmaster's auctions “worked”: they substantially improved price discovery, roughly doubled performer revenues, and, on average, nearly eliminated the potential arbitrage profits associated with underpriced tickets. We conclude by discussing why, nevertheless, the auctions failed to take off.

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms market design; auctions; primary markets; resale markets; secondary markets; rent seeking; position auctions; ticket markets
JEL Classification:  View help for JEL Classification
      D44 Auctions
      D47 Market Design
      L81 Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage Canada, United States
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 2007 – 2008
Collection Date(s):  View help for Collection Date(s) 1/2007 – 4/2008 (Perl scripts run Jan 2007 to April 2008)
Universe:  View help for Universe All Ticketmaster concert sales in 2007 with auctions, and all associated resale activity for these concerts. (The last concert in the data set took place in April 2008 so resale data were collected over the period Jan 2007 through April 2008.)
Data Type(s):  View help for Data Type(s) event/transaction data
Collection Notes:  View help for Collection Notes Primary-market auction data were obtained from Ticketmaster under a data-use agreement. An anonymized version of these data are provided on this repository.

Secondary-market resale value data were obtained from eBay using Perl scripts. An example Perl script is provided in the replication files as well as all of the eBay html files that were collected.

For more details see the Readme.


Sampling:  View help for Sampling All primary-market auctions in 2007 and all eBay resale activity associated with these auctions.
Data Source:  View help for Data Source Ticketmaster primary-market auction data.
eBay secondary-market resale value data.
Unit(s) of Observation:  View help for Unit(s) of Observation Matched TM-eBay data at level of concert-section-row, Ticketmaster auction bids , Resale of TM auction tickets on eBay (same concert-section-row)

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