Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ticket Scalping: How Widespread?

Got to talking, at lunch:  Just how many states have anti-scalping laws?

Here's the answer, as of 2006.  Interesting.

Now, WHY do states have anti-scalping laws?

1.  Voters don't like high prices.
2.  "ReSelling" tickets is mean; you should only buy tickets if you want to go to the show.  If scalping is legal, speculators will buy up all the tickets.
3. Performers want the "real fans" to be at the show/concert/game, not just a bunch of rich folks.

Are these good reasons?


  1. It's things like scalping that lead me to believe people's moral intuitions are more influenced by legislation than optimal. I mean, would people object to scalping if it weren't already illegal?

    "Why should scalping be illegal?" "Because it's bad!" "Why is it bad?" "Because it's illegal!"

  2. If the true reason is #3, some artists and venues have resolved this by selling only will-call tickets requiring ID at entry. Paul Simon does this at his smaller shows, for example. So there is an extralegal solution to that.

    I don't think it's #1 because people are willing to pay the price if they think it goes to the artist. Many concerts are very expensive. I think their real concern is something like #2, that they don't want the profits going to scalpers who "do nothing" for some intuitive theory of desert (yet they will buy tickets from them, suggesting the fee _is_ deserved).


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?