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Market Experimentation and Pricing

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Abstract

We present a continuous-time model of Bayesian learning in a duopolistic market. Initially the value of one product offered is unknown to the market. The market participants learn more about the true value of the product as experimentation occurs over time. Firms set prices to induce experimentation with their product. The aggregate outcomes are public information. As agents learn from the experiments of others, informational externalities arise. Surprisingly, the informational externality leads to too much learning. Buyers do not consider the impact of their experimentation on other buyers while the sellers internalize the gains from experiments conducted by the buyers. The firms free ride on the market as the social costs of experiments are not appropriately reflected in the equilibrium prices. The value functions of the sellers display preference for information in contrast to the buyers who are information averse. We determine Markov Perfect Equilibrium prices and allocations in this two-sided learning model. The analysis is presented for a finite number of buyers as well as for a continuum of buyers. The severity of the inefficiency is shown to be monotonically increasing in the number of buyers.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 1996. "Market Experimentation and Pricing," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1122, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1122
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d11/d1122.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bertola, Giuseppe & Felli, Leonardo, 1993. "Job matching and the distribution of producer surplus," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 65-92, March.
    2. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
    3. Chamley, Christophe & Gale, Douglas, 1994. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1065-1085, September.
    4. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 1997. "Market Diffusion with Two-Sided Learning," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 773-795, Winter.
    5. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 1999. "Strategic Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 349-374, March.
    6. Aghion, Philippe & Espinosa, Maria Paz & Jullien, Bruno, 1993. "Dynamic Duopoly with Learning through Market Experimentation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(3), pages 517-539, July.
    7. Bergemann, Dirk & Valimaki, Juuso, 1996. "Learning and Strategic Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1125-1149, September.
    8. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "A two-armed bandit theory of market pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 185-202, October.
    9. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-841, August.
    10. Rafael Rob, 1991. "Learning and Capacity Expansion under Demand Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 655-675.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 1997. "Market Diffusion with Two-Sided Learning," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 773-795, Winter.
    2. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Ottaviani, Marco, 2001. "Price Competition for an Informed Buyer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 457-493, December.
    3. Carole Haritchabalet, "undated". "Strategic Experimentation In A Durable Goods Duopoly," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 433.99, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    4. Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 1998. "Market Experimentation in a Dynamic Differentiated-Goods Duopoly," Game Theory and Information 9810001, EconWPA, revised 20 Aug 1999.
    5. Marco Ottaviani, "undated". "Monopoly Pricing with Social Learning," ELSE working papers 035, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning; experimentation; dynamic oligopoly; markov perfect equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • 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

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