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Market Dynamics with Many Agents: Applications in Social Learning and Competition

Bar Ifrach, 2012
Faculty Advisor: Costis Maglaras


This thesis considers two applications in dynamics economic models with many agents. The dynamics of the economic systems under consideration are intractable since they depend on the (stochastic) outcomes of the agents' actions. However, as the number of agents grows large, approximations to the aggregate behavior of agents come to light. I use this observation to characterize market dynamics and subsequently to study these applications.

Chapter 2 studies the problem of devising a pricing strategy to maximize the revenues extracted from a stream of consumers with heterogenous preferences. Consumers, however, do not know the quality of the product or service and engage in a social learning process to learn it. Using a mean-field approximation the transient of this social learning process is uncovered and the pricing problem is analyzed.

Chapter 3 adds to the previous chapter in analyzing features of this social learning process with finitely many agents. In addition, the chapter generalizes the information structure to include cases where consumers take into account the order in which reviews were submitted.

Chapter 4 considers a model of dynamic oligopoly competition in the spirit of models that are widespread in industrial organization. The computation of equilibrium strategies of such models suffers from the curse of dimensionality when the number of agents (firms) is large. For a market structure with few dominant firms and many fringe firms, I study an alternative equilibrium concept in which fringe firms are represented succinctly with a low dimensional set of statistics. The chapter explores how this new equilibrium concept expands the class of dynamic oligopoly models that can be studied computationally in empirical work.

Application Deadlines

Master of Science in Marketing >

For Fall 2016 Entry:

Available: August 1st, 2015
Deadline: January 4th, 2016


Master of Science in Financial Economics >

For Fall 2016 Entry:

Available: August 1st, 2015
Deadline: January 4th, 2016


Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering >

For Fall 2016 Entry:
To be determined


Available 8/1/15
Sept 2016

Deadline: 01/05/16

MS Marketing
Deadline: 01/04/16

MS Financial Economics
Deadline: 01/04/16


Doctoral Program News

Young Alumni Balseiro wins George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award

At the 2014 Informs national meeting, Santiago Balseiro was honored for his work in "Competition and Yield Optimization in Ad Exchanges". We congratulate Santiago on his accomplishment.

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Ethan Rouen wins Deloitte Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting

The Deloitte Foundation has awarded $25,000 grants to 10 top accounting Ph.D. candidates through the Deloitte Foundation’s annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Given to students who plan to pursue academic careers upon graduation, the award will support the 2015 recipients’ final year of coursework and the subsequent year to complete their doctoral dissertation.

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Honigsberg featured in Ideas at Work

The August issue of Ideas at Work features research that doctoral candidate Colleen Honigsberg led in conjunction with Sharon Katz.

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Wazlawek featured in Ideas at Work

Abbie Wazlawek's joint research with Professor Daniel Ames is featured in the June 24th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

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Ethan Rouen featured in Ideas at Work

Ethan Rouen's joint research with Professor Dan Amiram is featured in the May 15th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

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Rivas Wins Fellowship

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Miguel Duro Rivas, who was awarded the Nasdaq Educational Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

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Wong wins Deloitte Fellowship

We are proud to announce that Yu Ting (Forester) Wong is one of the recipients of the 2014 Deloitte Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting.

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The PhD Program Congratulates John Yao

PhD student John Yao was a finalist in the 2013 M&SOM (Manufacturing & Service Operations Management) student paper competition.

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Honigsberg Named Postdoctoral Fellow

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Colleen Honigsberg, who was named the Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance at the Millstein Center at Columbia Law School in October 2013

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