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Selling Data

Author

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  • Carlos Segura-Rodriguez

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

I study how a monopolist data broker (seller), who wants to maximize profits, should present and sell consumer data to a firm (buyer). The buyer has an interest in forecasting a particular consumer characteristic, but the seller is uncertain about which characteristic the buyer wants to forecast and how much the buyer values information. I assume that the joint distribution of both the unknown characteristics and the data is elliptical. This information environment reduces to a multidimensional, multi-product mechanism design problem in which the buyer’s payoffs are nonlinear. Hence, I cannot use the common differential approach to solve for the optimal mechanism. I obtain two main results. First, I show that the seller should optimally offer statistics that are linear combinations of the data and independent noise. Second, by using a direct approach, I show that in the optimal mechanism the seller might want to offer a continuum of different statistics, and these statistics, without containing independent noise, are less correlated than they would be if the seller could perfectly price discriminate. Thus this distortion affects the mimicking type more than the mimicked type.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Segura-Rodriguez, 2019. "Selling Data," PIER Working Paper Archive 19-006, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:19-006
    as

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    File URL: https://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/19-006%20PIER%20Paper%20Submission.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pavlov Gregory, 2011. "Optimal Mechanism for Selling Two Goods," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-35, February.
    2. Constantinos Daskalakis & Alan Deckelbaum & Christos Tzamos, 2017. "Strong Duality for a Multiple‐Good Monopolist," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 735-767, May.
    3. Manelli, Alejandro M. & Vincent, Daniel R., 2006. "Bundling as an optimal selling mechanism for a multiple-good monopolist," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 1-35, March.
    4. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    5. Thanassoulis, John, 2004. "Haggling over substitutes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 217-245, August.
    6. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
    7. Anderson, Simon P. & Celik, Levent, 2015. "Product line design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 517-526.
    8. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 1984. "Monopoly with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 171-196, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ian Ball, 2019. "Scoring Strategic Agents," Papers 1909.01888, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2019.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information Design; Mechanism Design; Multidimensional Screening; Product Design; Elliptical Distribution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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