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Monopoly Pricing in the Presence of Social Learning

A monopolist offers a product to a market of consumers with heterogeneous quality preferences. Although initially uninformed about the product quality, they learn by observing past purchase decisions and reviews of other consumers. Our goal is to analyze the social learning mechanism and its effect on the seller's pricing decision. This analysis borrows from the literature on social learning and on pricing and revenue management. Consumers follow a naive decision rule and, under some conditions, eventually learn the product's quality. Using mean-field approximation, the dynamics of this learning process are characterized for markets with high demand intensity. The relationship between the price and the speed of learning depends on the heterogeneity of quality preferences. Two pricing strategies are studied: a static price and a single price change. Properties of the optimal prices are derived. Numerical experiments suggest that pricing strategies that account for social learning may increase revenues considerably relative to strategies that do not.

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File URL: http://www.netinst.org/Ifrach_Maglaras_11_11.pdf
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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 11-11.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1111
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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  19. Senthil Veeraraghavan & Laurens Debo, 2009. "Joining Longer Queues: Information Externalities in Queue Choice," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 11(4), pages 543-562, April.
  20. Michael Luca, 2011. "Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-016, Harvard Business School.
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