Monopoly Pricing with Social Learning
This paper analyzes optimal dynamic pricing by a monopolist in a market where buyers learn about the quality of the good by observing each other. In the initial phase the monopolist prefers prices that allow more transmission of information from current to future buyers. Eventually the monopolist will stop the learning process, either by exiting or by capturing the entire market. Once an expensive good becomes popular, it is optimal for the monopolist to reduce the price and to sell to all consumers. The expected long-run inefficiency is shown to be generally lower than in the model with fixed prices. Efficiency can be enhanced by pricing below marginal cost.
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