DP6177 | A Test of Profit Maximization

Publication Date

16/03/2007

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Abstract

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.