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“Pay what you want” as threshold public good provision

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  • Mak, Vincent
  • Zwick, Rami
  • Rao, Akshay R.
  • Pattaratanakun, Jake A.

Abstract

Prevailing wisdom on “pay what you want” (PWYW) pricing focuses on the influence of altruism or fairness on consumers’ payments. In this paper, we offer a different perspective by demonstrating that, if the seller and consumers interact repeatedly, and future provision of PWYW depends on whether current revenue under PWYW is sufficient for the seller to achieve financial goals, then paying under PWYW can be likened to paying for a threshold public good. Our model implies that continuous provision of PWYW can be profitable even when all consumers are self-interested. We find in two experiments that if there is pre-payment online chat-room-style communication among consumers, then efficient tacit coordination at the payment stage can be accomplished to achieve continuous PWYW provision. We also show experimentally that pre-payment communication can sustain PWYW provision even when consumers have limited feedback about each other’s payments, or limited information about the market.

Suggested Citation

  • Mak, Vincent & Zwick, Rami & Rao, Akshay R. & Pattaratanakun, Jake A., 2015. "“Pay what you want” as threshold public good provision," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 30-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:127:y:2015:i:c:p:30-43
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2014.11.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Krämer, Florentin & Schmidt, Klaus M. & Spann, Martin & Stich, Lucas, 2017. "Delegating pricing power to customers: Pay What You Want or Name Your Own Price?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 125-140.
    2. Gravert, Christina, 2017. "Pride and patronage - pay-what-you-want pricing at a charitable bookstore," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 1-7.
    3. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:182-202 is not listed on IDEAS

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