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"Download for Free": When do providers of digital goods offer free samples?

  • Boom, Anette

In a monopoly setting where consumers cannot observe the quality of the product we show that free samples which are of a lower quality than the marketed digital goods are used together with high prices as signals for a superior quality if the number of informed consumers is small and if the difference between the high and the low quality is not too small. Social welfare is higher, if the monopolist uses also free samples as signals, compared to a situation where he is restricted to pure price signalling. Both, the monopolist and consumers benefit from the additional signal.

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Paper provided by Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2004/28.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200428
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  1. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
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  5. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  8. Sabine Stephan, 2002. "German Exports to the Euro Area," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 286, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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  10. Hao Zhao, 2000. "Raising Awareness and Signaling Quality to Uninformed Consumers: A Price-Advertising Model," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(4), pages 390-396, January.
  11. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
  12. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 513-531.
  13. Sebastien Lecocq & Thierry Magnac & Marie-Claude Pichery & Michael Visser, 2004. "The impact of information on wine auction prices: results of an experiment," Research Unit Working Papers 0401, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  14. Ram Orzach & Per Baltzer Overgaard & Yair Tauman, 2001. "Modest Advertising Signals Strength," CIE Discussion Papers 2001-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  15. Volckart, Oliver & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2004. "Estimating medieval market integration: Evidence from exchange rates," Discussion Papers 2004/21, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  16. Foster, James E. & Horowitz, Andrew W., 1996. "Complimentarily yours: Free examination copies and textbook prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 85-99.
  17. Kamp, Brad, 1998. "Complimentarily yours: Free examination copies and textbook prices: Comment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 527-533, July.
  18. Kyle Bagwell & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2005. "Look How Little I’m Advertising!," CIE Discussion Papers 2005-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
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