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The Simple Economics of Optimal Bundling

Frank Yang

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Abstract: We study optimal bundling when consumers differ in one dimension. We introduce a partial order on the set of bundles defined by (i) set inclusion and (ii) sales volumes (if sold alone and priced optimally). We show that if the undominated bundles with respect to this partial order are nested, then nested bundling (tiered pricing) is optimal. We characterize which nested menu is optimal: Selling a given menu of nested bundles is optimal if a smaller bundle in (out of) the menu sells more (less) than a bigger bundle in the menu. We present three applications of these insights: the first two connect optimal bundling and quality design to price elasticities and cost structures; the last one establishes a necessary and sufficient condition for costly screening to be optimal when a principal can use both price and nonprice screening instruments.

Date: 2022-12, Revised 2023-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-des, nep-ind and nep-mic
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