Selling service plans to differentially informed customers

Inderst, Roman ; Peitz, Martin

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-22507
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2008
The title of a journal, publication series: None
Publication language: English
Institution: Sonstige Einrichtungen > ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
Subject headings (SWD): Kundendienst , Dienstleistung , Monopol , Kontrakttheorie , Preisdifferenzierung , Verbraucherverhalten , Informationsverhalten
Keywords (English): Nonlinear Pricing , Price discrimination , Information acquisition
Abstract: We characterize a monopolist's optimal offer of service plans when only informed customers know already at the contracting stage whether their demand is high or low, while uninformed customers may learn their demand only after incurring some costs, if at all. While informed customers purchase simpler tariffs, those who are still uninformed purchase tariffs that subsequently allow them to more flexibly adjust their consumed quantity of the service. The presence of uninformed costumers makes it more costly for the firm, in terms of rent left to consumers, to offer the most basic package, which is purchased by informed low-demand customers. Consequently, the firm makes this package relatively unattractive, resulting in a very low quantity of the consumed service. We find that uninformed customers benefit from the presence of informed customers, even though information only helps to predict a customer's own demand. However, welfare may be lower if there are more informed customers or if acquiring information already at the contracting stage becomes less costly for uninformed customers.
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