Discontinuous demand functions: Estimation and pricing

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We consider a dynamic pricing problem with an unknown and discontinuous demand function. There is a seller who dynamically sets the price of a product over a multiperiod time horizon. The expected demand for the product is a piecewise continuous and parametric function of the charged price, allowing for possibly multiple discontinuity points. The seller initially knows neither the locations of the discontinuity points nor the parameters of the demand function but can infer them by observing stochastic demand realizations over time. We measure the seller's performance by the revenue loss relative to a clairvoyant who knows the underlying demand function with certainty. We construct a dynamic estimation-and-pricing policy that accounts for demand discontinuities, derive the convergence rates of discontinuity- and parameter-estimation errors under this policy, and prove that it achieves near-optimal revenue performance. We also extend our analysis to the cases of time-varying demand discontinuities and inventory constraints.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Den Boer, AV; Keskin, NB

Published Date

  • October 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 66 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 4516 - 4534

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-5501

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0025-1909

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1287/mnsc.2019.3446

Citation Source

  • Scopus