Title

Robust Monopoly Pricing

Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date

7-1-2005

CFDP Number

1527R

CFDP Revision Date

2007-04-01

CFDP Pages

36

Abstract

We consider a robust version of the classic problem of optimal monopoly pricing with incomplete information. In the robust version of the problem the seller only knows that demand will be in a neighborhood of a given model distribution. We characterize the optimal pricing policy under two distinct, but related, decision criteria with multiple priors: (i) maximin expected utility and (ii) minimax expected regret. While the classic monopoly policy and the maximin criterion yield a single deterministic price, minimax regret always prescribes a random pricing policy, or equivalently, a multi-item menu policy. The resulting optimal pricing policy under either criterion is robust to the model uncertainty. Finally we derive distinct implications of how a monopolist responds to an increase in ambiguity under each criterion.

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