Title

Robust Monopoly Pricing

Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date

7-1-2005

CFDP Number

1527R2

CFDP Revision Date

2008-09-01

CFDP Pages

43

Abstract

We consider a robust version of the classic problem of optimal monopoly pricing with incomplete information. In the robust version, the seller faces model uncertainty and only knows that the true demand distribution is in the 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. The resulting optimal pricing policy under either criterion yields a robust policy to the model uncertainty. 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. Distinct implications of how a monopolist responds to an increase in uncertainty emerge under the two criteria.

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