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Capacity Choice Counters the Coase Conjecture


  • Thomas Wiseman
  • R. Preston McAfee


The Coase conjecture (1972) is the proposition that a durable-goods monopolist, who sells over time and can quickly reduce prices as sales are made, will price at marginal cost. We show that an arbitrarily small deviation from Coase's assumptions—a deviation that applies in almost any practical application—results in the failure of that conjecture. In particular, we examine that conjecture in a model where there is a vanishingly small cost for production (or sales) capacity, and the seller may augment capacity in every period. In the "gap case", any positive capacity cost ensures that in the limit, as the size of the gap and the time between sales periods shrink, the monopolist obtains profits identical to those that would prevail when she could commit ex ante to a fixed capacity. Those profits are at least 29.8% of the full static monopoly optimum. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.
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  • Thomas Wiseman & R. Preston McAfee, 2005. "Capacity Choice Counters the Coase Conjecture," 2005 Meeting Papers 636, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:636

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Larry M. Ausubel & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Levine's Working Paper Archive 201, David K. Levine.
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    7. Gul, Faruk & Sonnenschein, Hugo & Wilson, Robert, 1986. "Foundations of dynamic monopoly and the coase conjecture," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 155-190, June.
    8. Kahn, Charles M, 1986. "The Durable Goods Monopolist and Consistency with Increasing Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 275-294, March.
    9. McAfee, R. Preston & Vincent, Daniel, 1997. "Sequentially Optimal Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 246-276, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Hörner & Larry Samuelson, 2011. "Managing Strategic Buyers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 379-425.
    2. Xing Li & Megan MacGarvie & Petra Moser, 2014. "Dead Poets’ Property - How Does Copyright Influence Price," Discussion Papers 14-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. Xu, Frances Zhiyun, 2011. "Optimal best-price policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 628-643, September.
    4. Wilner, Lionel, 2014. "Intertemporal price discrimination in infinite horizon," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 358-361.
    5. Montero, Juan Pablo, 2011. "A note on environmental policy and innovation when governments cannot commit," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 13-19.
    6. Roman Inderst, 2008. "Dynamic Bilateral Bargaining under Private Information with a Sequence of Potential Buyers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 220-236, January.
    7. Mak, Vincent & Rapoport, Amnon & Gisches, Eyran J., 2012. "Competitive dynamic pricing with alternating offers: Theory and experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 250-264.
    8. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David G. & Stacchetti, Ennio, 2015. "One-sided uncertainty and delay in reputational bargaining," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(3), September.
    9. Ortner, Juan, 2017. "Durable goods monopoly with stochastic costs," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(2), May.

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