Then I highly recommend that you read some of the works of Edward Castronova.
- Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier
- On Virtual Economies
- The Price of ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’: A Hedonic Pricing Model of Avatar Attributes in a Synthethic World
- Theory of the Avatar
- Real Products in Imaginary Worlds
He is currently a professor at Indiana University Bloomington. I used to read his economics papers when he was at Cal State Fullerton. It is amazing to read these papers again in light of the exploding interest in avatars (Meez, Oddcast) and virtual worlds (SecondLife, Habbo) – Ed definitely was on the ball.
Just to give you an idea of how ahead of the curve this guy has been, back then he had difficulty getting his ideas accepted by the academic community. Now he has a person that handles media inquiries.
If you are still hungry for more check out his book Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, or his blog Terra Nova.