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``We sold a million copies''-The role of advertising past sales


  • P. K. Monteiro

    (IMPA & Copenhagen University)

  • J. L. Moraga

    (Copenhagen University)


We model a two periods market with two-sided quality uncertainty. In the first period the seller gathers information about consumers' tastes upon observing his sales. In the second period the seller may or may not deliver the information. If the monopolist must commit either to reveal or conceal past-sales before observing them, commiting to reveal is the dominant strategy whenever advertising cost is low, buyers are many and their private information is accurate. When the seller can postpone the advertising decision and gains experience, past-sales revelation occurs partially. In equilibrium, delivery of sales-data occurs to induce some buyers' herding behaviour. We carry out the analysis for two different informational scenarios.

Suggested Citation

  • P. K. Monteiro & J. L. Moraga, 1998. "``We sold a million copies''-The role of advertising past sales," Industrial Organization 9812001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9812001
    Note: Type of Document - Postscript file; prepared on IBM PC - PC- TEX/Latex; to print on HP/PostScript/; pages: 20 ; figures: request from author/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vives, Xavier, 1984. "Duopoly information equilibrium: Cournot and bertrand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 71-94, October.
    2. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 329-343, March.
    3. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    4. Kenneth L. Judd & Michael H. Riordan, 1994. "Price and Quality in a New Product Monopoly," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 773-789.
    5. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    6. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    7. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-239, March.
    8. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
    9. Asher Wolinsky, 1983. "Prices as Signals of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 647-658.
    10. Ramon Caminal & Xavier Vives, 1996. "Why Market Shares Matter: An Information-Based Theory," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 221-239, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Monteiro, Paulo Klinger & Moraga-González, José Luis, 2003. "We Sold a Million Units -- The Role of Advertising Past-Sales," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 57(2), April.

    More about this item


    two-sided quality uncertainty; past-sales advertising; herding behaviour;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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