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Storable Good Monopoly: The Role of Commitment

  • Igal Hendel
  • Paolo Dudine
  • Alessandro Lizzeri

We study dynamic monopoly pricing of storable goods in an environment where demand changes over time. The literature on durables has focused on incentives to delay purchases. Our analysis focuses on a different intertemporal demand incentive. The key force on the consumer side is advance purchases or stockpiling. In the case of storable goods, the stockpiling motive has recently been documented empirically. We show that, in this environment, if the monopolist cannot commit, then prices are higher in all periods, and social welfare is lower, than in the case in which the monopolist can commit. This is in contrast with the analysis in the literature on the Coase conjecture. (JEL D21, D42, L12)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1706-1719

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1706-1719
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1706
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  1. Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "Durable-Goods Monopolists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 314-32, April.
  2. Jeuland, Abel P & Narasimhan, Chakravarthi, 1985. "Dealing-Temporary Price Cuts-by Seller as a Buyer Discrimination Mechanism," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 295-308, July.
  3. Michael Waldman, 2003. "Durable Goods Theory for Real World Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 131-154, Winter.
  4. Erdem, Tulin & Imai, Susumu & Keane, Michael, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," MPRA Paper 52516, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Albert L. Nichols & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1977. "Stockpiling Strategies and Cartel Prices," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(1), pages 66-96, Spring.
  6. Hong, Pilky & McAfee, R. Preston & Nayyar, Ashish, 2002. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Consumer Inventories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 503-517, August.
  7. Nancy L. Stokey, 1981. "Rational Expectations and Durable Goods Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 112-128, Spring.
  8. Aguirregabiria, Victor, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308, April.
  9. Martin Pesendorfer, 2002. "Retail Sales: A Study of Pricing Behavior in Supermarkets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(1), pages 33-66, January.
  10. Simon Board, 2008. "Durable-Goods Monopoly with Varying Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 391-413.
  11. Conlisk, John & Gerstner, Eitan & Sobel, Joel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505, August.
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