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Price Dynamics and Consumer Learning


  • Caminal, Ramon
  • Vives, Xavier


This paper studies the price dynamics induced by strategic firm behaviour in the presence of consumer learning about the uncertain quality differential of the products offered by a duopoly. It is found that consumers learn slowly and also that prices converge slowly to full-information levels. A consequence is that the incentives of firms to manipulate consumers’ beliefs are relatively persistent. Although pricing tends to be aggressive at the early stages, and average prices eventually increase over time, price wars may occur at intermediate stages of the product life-cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Caminal, Ramon & Vives, Xavier, 1997. "Price Dynamics and Consumer Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1744, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1744

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boyd, John H & Smith, Bruce D, 1993. "The Equilibrium Allocation of Investment Capital in the Presence of Adverse Selection and Costly State Verification," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(3), pages 427-451, July.
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    3. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 473-494.
    4. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, June.
    5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-879.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander, Corinne E., 2002. "The Role Of Seed Company Supplied Information In Farmers' Decisions," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19617, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Nicolás Figueroa & Carla Guadalupi, 2017. "Convincing early adopters: Price signals and Information transmission," Documentos de Trabajo 486, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    3. Ferrara, Ida & Missios, Paul, 2012. "Pricing of drugs with heterogeneous health insurance coverage," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 440-456.
    4. Aoyagi, Masaki & Bhalla, Manaswini & Gunay, Hikmet, 2016. "Social learning and delay in a dynamic model of price competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 565-600.
    5. Alcalá, Francisco & González-Maestre, Miguel & Martínez-Pardina, Irene, 2014. "Information and quality with an increasing number of brands," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 109-117.
    6. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2012. "The optimal choice of pre-launch reviewer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(3), pages 1247-1260.
    7. Bar Ifrach & Costis Maglaras & Marco Scarsini, 2011. "Monopoly Pricing in the Presence of Social Learning," Working Papers 11-11, NET Institute, revised Nov 2011.
    8. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2016. "The Slow Growth of New Plants: Learning about Demand?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(329), pages 91-129, January.
    9. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2008. "Thought and Behavior Contagion in Capital Markets," MPRA Paper 9164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. David Hirshleifer & Siew Hong Teoh, 2003. "Herd Behaviour and Cascading in Capital Markets: a Review and Synthesis," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 9(1), pages 25-66.
    11. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "The Optimal Choice of Pre-launch Reviewer : How Best to Transmit Information using Tests and Conditional Pricing," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 877, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Learning; Market Shares; oligopoly pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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