Thursday, April 05, 2012


My latest piece with LeBron is up at

In it we tackle the problem of asymmetric information when purchasing sports experiences. The idea for the piece came from a very nice paper by J. Zinman and E. Zitzewitz at Dartmouth, for which we thank them.

Here's a lovely bit:

The biggest issue is that our own desire for thrills often works against our better judgment. As a species, we derive pleasure from thinking about what will come — how nice that powdery snow on the slopes is going to be. So we turn off our critical faculties at the worst possible moment in hopes of maximizing the value of the anticipation and getting a bigger buzz. This is particularly bad when it comes to sports experiences, which are rife with "asymmetric information" — when the seller knows something you don't. Your best defense, of course, is to be aware of your vulnerability and maximize your information, as any smart shopper does when in the market for a used car. But when it comes to shopping for experiences, emotions all too often rule. 



Ryan said...

Didn't really see a great argument that info is unusually asymmetric in experiences rather than services (except, ahem, the lying about the snowpack).

I would have thought most basketball fans knew that a kid-season game involving a bad team is a crapshoot. And one always risks seeing the understudy, so to speak. But I think experiences are being helped along by more and deeper reviews just as products are.

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