University of Oulu

Huuki, H., Svento, R. Unobserved preferences and dynamic platform pricing under positive network externality. Netnomics 21, 37–58 (2020).

Unobserved preferences and dynamic platform pricing under positive network externality

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Author: Huuki, Hannu1,2; Svento, Rauli1
Organizations: 1Oulu Business School, Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4600, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Finnish Environment Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 413, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-02


We study the dynamic optimization of platform pricing in industries with positive direct network externalities. The utility of the network for the consumer is modeled as a function of three components. Platform price and participation rate affect the consumer’s decision to join the platform. The platform operator is assumed to know the consumer’s sensitivities with respect to these components. In addition, the consumer’s utility is a function of other attributes, such as network privacy policies and environmental effects of the service. We assume that the distribution of these unobserved preferences in the potential customer base is known to the platform operator. We show analytically how the unobserved preferences affect the dynamic platform price design. Both static and rational expectations with respect to the platform participation are presented. We simulate an electricity market demand side management service application and show that the platform operator sets low prices in the launch phase. The platform operator can set higher launching prices if it can affect customers’ preferences, expectations or adjustment friction.

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Series: Netnomics
ISSN: 1385-9587
ISSN-E: 1573-7071
ISSN-L: 1385-9587
Volume: 21
Pages: 37 - 58
DOI: 10.1007/s11066-020-09140-w
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 511 Economics
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. Funding from the Academy of Finland Strategic Research Council project BCDC Energy (AKA292854) and Academy of Finland project EcoRiver (323810) is gratefully acknowledged.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 292854
Detailed Information: 292854 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
323810 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit