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As a celebration of my undergraduate publication, here’s the full version of my research! May I be shunned for even thinking it would be even remotely okay to reference it in a graduate program. Still cool to me, though. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the wrath of my advisor’s critiques.


This paper proposes an explanation and survey of structures in online marketplaces for virtual tradable items, chiefly, Steam, a product of Valve Corporation. As the process of trading virtual items online through primary and secondary markets becomes increasingly interactive, this social interaction can become more volatile and deceptive. Successful trading in such markets requires a working understanding of an item’s value, interaction with other users, and access to information that determine value for items. The consequences of such market structures could be conducive to artificial pricing and uncharacteristic market behavior divergent from real-world scenarios. In this paper I primarily focus on identifying the dynamics of a dominant online gaming platform Steam. This paper’s ambition is to serve as the basis for contrasting a market environment conducive to irrational and uncharacteristic market behavior in online marketplaces with neoclassical characteristics of perfectly competitive markets.

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