Scalping Scalpers - Or Consumers?

8 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2012 Last revised: 8 Feb 2013

See all articles by David E. Harrington

David E. Harrington

Kenyon College - Department of Economics

Emma Harrington

Williams College

Date Written: October 1, 2012


Secondary ticket markets for concerts and sporting events have become increasingly competitive over the past several years as states moved to legalize market-priced transactions on these markets and as internet innovation made possible online resale marketplaces and ticket aggregators. These innovations have increased the size of secondary ticket markets and the amount of information accessible to consumers. The increase in competition has squeezed out most of the profits that ticket scalpers used to gouge from ill-informed consumers buying from sellers with market power. At the same time, there are genuine concerns that these new markets fail to reward die-hard fans and artists sufficiently and, as a result, government ought to intervene. This paper argues that, instead of government intervention, the best way to scalp scalpers is to arm consumers with information, and the evolution of secondary markets has increased fans’ weaponry over time.

Keywords: scalping tickets, market price, supply and demand, illegal, legalize, secondary ticket market, economics, government regulation

JEL Classification: H10, K00

Suggested Citation

Harrington, David E. and Harrington, Emma, Scalping Scalpers - Or Consumers? (October 1, 2012). Regulation, p. 18, Fall 2012, Available at SSRN:

David E. Harrington (Contact Author)

Kenyon College - Department of Economics ( email )

Gambier, OH 43022
United States
720-427-5293 (Phone)

Emma Harrington

Williams College

Williamstown, MA 01267
United States

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