Arbatskaya, Maria, and Hideo Konishi. “Managing Consumer Referrals in a Chain Network”. Boston College Working Papers in Economics 850, 2014.
We consider the optimal pricing and referral strategy of a monopoly that uses a simple consumer communication network (a chain) to spread product information. The first-best policy with fully discriminatory position-based referral fees involves standard monopoly pricing and referral fees that provide consumers with strictly positive referral incentives. Effective price discrimination among consumers based on their positions in the chain occurs in both the first-best solution and the second-best solution (with a common referral fee).