DP6177 | A Test of Profit Maximization

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This paper aims at testing the maintained assumption that firms' objective is to maximize the expected net present value (ENPV) of profits. The idea is to examine pricing behaviour of a monopolist facing a dynamic demand where current sales influence future demand. Empirically, I estimate an Euler equation implied by maximization of ENPV of profits on data from the Swedish Tobacco Monopoly's sales of moist snuff (an addictive tobacco product) during the period 1917-1959. It is found that the monopolist's prices are well below those that would maximize ENPV of profits.