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Buying frenzies in durable-goods markets

Liu, Ting and Schiraldi, Pasquale ORCID: 0000-0003-2469-1734 (2014) Buying frenzies in durable-goods markets. European Economic Review, 70. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0014-2921

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.03.008


We explain why a durable-goods monopolist would like to create a shortage during the launch phase of a new product. We argue that this incentive arises from the presence of a second-hand market and uncertainty about consumers׳ willingness to pay for the good. Consumers are heterogeneous and initially uninformed about their valuations but learn about them over time. Given demand uncertainty, first period sales may result in misallocation and lead to active trading on the secondary market after the uncertainty is resolved. Trading on the second-hand market will generate additional surplus. This surplus can be captured by the monopolist ex-ante because consumers are forward-looking, and the price they are willing to pay incorporates the product׳s resale value. As a consequence, when selling to uninformed consumers, the monopolist faces the trade-off between more sales today and a lower profit margin. Specifically, because the product׳s resale value is negatively related to the stock of the good in the second-hand market, selling more units today will result in a lower equilibrium price of the product. Therefore, the monopolist may find it optimal to create a shortage and ration consumers to the second period. We characterize conditions under which the monopolist would like to restrict sales and generate buying frenzies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier B.V
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Date Deposited: 12 May 2014 08:41
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:51

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