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A Test of Profit Maximization

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  • Asplund, Björn Marcus

Abstract

This paper aims at testing the maintained assumption that firms' objective is to maximize the expected net present value (ENPV) of profits. The idea is to examine pricing behaviour of a monopolist facing a dynamic demand where current sales influence future demand. Empirically, I estimate an Euler equation implied by maximization of ENPV of profits on data from the Swedish Tobacco Monopoly's sales of moist snuff (an addictive tobacco product) during the period 1917-1959. It is found that the monopolist's prices are well below those that would maximize ENPV of profits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6177.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6177

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Keywords: firm behaviour; profit maximization;

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 61, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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  5. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Warner, Kenneth E., 2000. "The economics of smoking," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 29, pages 1539-1627 Elsevier.
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  7. Joseph Farrell & Paul Klemperer, 2006. "Co-ordination and Lock-in: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Economics Papers 2006-W07, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  8. Dutta, Prajit K & Radner, Roy, 1999. "Profit Maximization and the Market Selection Hypothesis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 769-98, October.
  9. Sullivan, Daniel, 1985. "Testing Hypotheses about Firm Behavior in the Cigarette Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 586-98, June.
  10. Steven D. Levitt, 2006. "An Economist Sells Bagels: A Case Study in Profit Maximization," NBER Working Papers 12152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. C. Lanier Benkard, 2004. "A Dynamic Analysis of the Market for Wide-Bodied Commercial Aircraft," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71, pages 581-611, 07.
  12. Herbert Simon & Lindsay McSweeney, 2010. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 6.
  13. Ackerberg, Daniel & Lanier Benkard, C. & Berry, Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 2007. "Econometric Tools for Analyzing Market Outcomes," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 63 Elsevier.
  14. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  15. Showalter, Mark H., 1999. "Firm behavior in a market with addiction: the case of cigarettes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 409-427, August.
  16. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David, 1992. "Evolution and market behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 9-40, October.
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