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The Ignorant Monopolist: Optimal Learning with Endogenous Information

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  • Trefler, Daniel

Abstract

Economics lacks a good theory of the pricing and output decisions of a monopolist which does not know its demand--we inevitably assume that the monopolist knows much more about demand conditions than is reasonable. I present a model in which demand information is generated endogenously. When information is endogenous the monopolist has an incentive to experiment with price and quantity. I derive the direction of experimentation, characterize an important value function arising from dynamic programming problems with learning, and relate the results to Blackwell's comparison of experiments. Copyright 1993 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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  • Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "The Ignorant Monopolist: Optimal Learning with Endogenous Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 565-581, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:34:y:1993:i:3:p:565-81
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Godfrey Keller, 2005. "The (in)appropriate benchmark when beliefs are not the only state variable," Economics Series Working Papers 223, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Learning by doing and the value of optimal experimentation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 501-534, April.
    3. Bergemann, Dirk & Valimaki, Juuso, 2002. "Entry and Vertical Differentiation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 91-125, September.
    4. Horowitz, I. & Thompson, P., 1995. "The sophisticated decision maker: All work and no pay?," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-11, February.
    5. Leonard J. Mirman & Kevin Reffett & Marc Santugini, 2016. "On learning and growth," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(4), pages 641-684, April.
    6. Günter J. Hitsch, 2006. "An Empirical Model of Optimal Dynamic Product Launch and Exit Under Demand Uncertainty," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(1), pages 25-50, 01-02.
    7. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Wald Revisited: The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1176, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    8. Creane, Anthony, 1996. "An informational externality in a competitive market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 331-344, May.
    9. Mason, Robin & Välimäki, Juuso, 2011. "Learning about the arrival of sales," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1699-1711, July.
    10. Christos Koulovatianos & Leonard J. Mirman & Marc Santugini, 2006. "Investment in a Monopoly with Bayesian Learning," Vienna Economics Papers 0603, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    11. Nizovtsev, Dmitri & Novshek, William, 2004. "Money-back guarantees and market experimentation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 983-996, September.
    12. Cosimano, Thomas F., 2008. "Optimal experimentation and the perturbation method in the neighborhood of the augmented linear regulator problem," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1857-1894, June.
    13. Koulovatianos, Christos & Mirman, Leonard J. & Santugini, Marc, 2009. "Optimal growth and uncertainty: Learning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 280-295, January.
    14. Nicholas C. Petruzzi & Maqbool Dada, 2001. "Information and Inventory Recourse for a Two-Market, Price-Setting Retailer," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 242-263, October.
    15. Rauh, Michael T. & Seccia, Giulio, 2005. "Experimentation, full revelation, and the monotone likelihood ratio property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 239-262, February.
    16. Chade, Hector & Schlee, Edward, 2002. "Another Look at the Radner-Stiglitz Nonconcavity in the Value of Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 421-452, December.
    17. Hector Chade & Edward E. Schlee, 2000. "Increasing Returns in the Value of Information," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1715, Econometric Society.

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