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Capacity Choice Counters the Coase Conjecture

The Coase conjecture (1972) is the proposition that a durable-goods monopolist, who sells over time and can quickly reduce prices as sales are made, will price at marginal cost. We show that an arbitrarily small deviation from Coase's assumptions—a deviation that applies in almost any practical application—results in the failure of that conjecture. In particular, we examine that conjecture in a model where there is a vanishingly small cost for production (or sales) capacity, and the seller may augment capacity in every period. In the "gap case", any positive capacity cost ensures that in the limit, as the size of the gap and the time between sales periods shrink, the monopolist obtains profits identical to those that would prevail when she could commit ex ante to a fixed capacity. Those profits are at least 29.8% of the full static monopoly optimum. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Theory workshop papers with number 505798000000000046.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cla:uclatw:505798000000000046
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  1. David K. Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "When Are Agents Negligible?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 96, David K. Levine.
  2. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-49, April.
  3. Sobel, Joel, 1991. "Durable Goods Monopoly with Entry of New Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1455-85, September.
  4. Ausubel, Lawrence M & Deneckere, Raymond J, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 511-31, May.
  5. Gul, Faruk & Sonnenschein, Hugo & Wilson, Robert, 1986. "Foundations of dynamic monopoly and the coase conjecture," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 155-190, June.
  6. Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1993. "Design Innovation and Fashion Cycles," Discussion Papers 1049, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "Durable-Goods Monopolists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 314-32, April.
  8. Kahn, Charles M, 1986. "The Durable Goods Monopolist and Consistency with Increasing Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 275-94, March.
  9. Larry M. Ausubel & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Levine's Working Paper Archive 201, David K. Levine.
  10. McAfee, R. Preston & Vincent, Daniel, 1997. "Sequentially Optimal Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 246-276, February.
  11. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826, March.
  12. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Infinite-Horizon Models of Bargaining with One-Sided Incomplete Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1098, David K. Levine.
  13. Bagnoli, Mark & Salant, Stephen W & Swierzbinski, Joseph E, 1989. "Durable-Goods Monopoly with Discrete Demand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1459-78, December.
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