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Working Paper

Price discrimination and big data: Evidence from a mobile puzzle game

Louis-Daniel Pape, Christian Helmers, Alessandro Iaria, Stefan Wagner, Julian Runge
Subject(s)
Strategy and general management
Keyword(s)
Price discrimination, personalized pricing, mobile apps, online games, freemium
JEL Code(s)
D40, L11
We use a unique dataset from a mobile puzzle game to investigate the welfare consequences of price discrimination. We rely on experimental variation to characterize player behavior and estimate a model of demand for game content. Our counterfactual simulations show that optimal uniform pricing would increase profit by +340% with respect to the game developer’s observed pricing. This is almost the same as the increase in profit associated with first-degree price discrimination (+347%). All pricing strategies considered—including optimal uniform pricing—would induce a transfer of surplus from players to game developer without, however, generating sizeable dead-weight losses.
Pages
93