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Nonlinear Pricing with Average-Price Bias

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  • David Martimort
  • Lars A. Stole

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that consumers facing complex nonlinear prices often make choices based on average (not marginal) prices. Given such behavior, we characterize a monopolist's optimal nonlinear price schedule. In contrast to the textbook setting, nonlinear prices designed for "average-price bias" distort consumption downward for consumers with the highest marginal utility and typically feature quantity premia rather than quantity discounts. These properties arise because the bias replaces consumer information rents with "curvature rents." Whether or not a monopolist prefers consumers with average-price bias depends upon underlying preferences and costs.

Suggested Citation

  • David Martimort & Lars A. Stole, 2020. "Nonlinear Pricing with Average-Price Bias," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 375-396, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aerins:v:2:y:2020:i:3:p:375-96
    DOI: 10.1257/aeri.20190272
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies

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