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Market Experimentation and Pricing

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.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d11a/d1122.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1122.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Apr 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1122
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Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Gale, D. & Chamley, C., 1992. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Papers 10, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris, 1999. "Strategic Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 349-374, March.
  3. Bertola, Giuseppe & Felli, Leonardo, 1993. "Job matching and the distribution of producer surplus," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 65-92, March.
  4. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1984. "Standardization, Compatibility and Innovation," Working papers 345, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Bergemann, Dirk & Valimaki, Juuso, 1996. "Learning and Strategic Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1125-49, September.
  6. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "A two-armed bandit theory of market pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 185-202, October.
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Espinosa, Maria Paz & Jullien, Bruno, 1993. "Dynamic Duopoly with Learning through Market Experimentation," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 517-39, July.
  8. 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.
  9. Rob, Rafael, 1991. "Learning and Capacity Expansion under Demand Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 655-75, July.
  10. 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 822-41, August.
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