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Misery loves company: social influence and the supply/pricing decision of a popular restaurant

In a model with social influence, Becker (1991) offers an explanation for why popular restaurants with excess demand do not raise their prices. He also offers an explanation for why such restaurants do not increase supply but admits his explanation may be weak. Becker does not provide a formal analysis of why supply is not increased. In this paper, I present a formal analysis of Becker's argument based on a different kind of social influence. I also offer an alternative explanation of why some restaurants are popular and others are not. Finally, while Becker (1991) includes market demand and the gap between market demand and supply as separate arguements in the customers' demand function to explan why supply and price are not increased. I only include the gap between demand and supply in the customers' utility function to explain both puzzles.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp00-18.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp00-18.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision: 14 Sep 2000
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp00-18
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html

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Order Information: Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Web: http://www.sfu.ca/economics/research/publications.html Email:


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  1. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  2. Karni, Edi & Levin, Dan, 1994. "Social Attributes and Strategic Equilibrium: A Restaurant Pricing Game," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 822-40, August.
  3. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1991. "A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 67, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1990. "Understanding Welfare Stigma: Taxpayer Resentment And Statistical Discrimination," Papers 42, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  6. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
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