Experimentation in Markets

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Discussion Paper

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We present a model of entry and exit with Bayesian learning and price competition. A new product of initially unknown quality is introduced in the market, and purchases of the product yield information on its true quality. We assume that the performance of the new product is publicly observable. As agents learn from the experiments of others, informational externalities arise. We determine the Markov Perfect Equilibrium prices and allocations. In a single market, the combination of the informational externalities among the buyers and the strategic pricing by the sellers results in excessive experimentation. If the new product is launched in many distinct markets, the path of sales converges to the efficient path in the limit as the number of markets grows.

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