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Price wars and price collusion in China's airline markets

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  • Zhang, Yahua
  • Round, David K.
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    Abstract

    In the absence of an effective antitrust law, both fare wars and price collusion have been pervasive in China's airline markets, causing concern for both airlines and consumers. A study of monthly airfare data from 2002 to 2004 confirms that fare wars occur periodically, as well as price collusion. Both tend to be short-lived. The fact that collusion is more likely to occur in January and April when demand is high, as revealed by China Eastern's and China Southern's price-war and collusion models, has been confirmed by interview information obtained from the airlines' sales managers. However, there is also evidence in these models suggesting that collusion can be more easily formed when demand is low. High airport concentration measured by the HHI may facilitate collusion in certain circumstances, but it may also lead to more price wars under other conditions. Concentration in both airports and routes does not appear to systematically affect the occurrence of fare wars and collusion in all the models estimated. We also reject the possibility that mutual forbearance due to multimarket contact plays any important anti-competitive role in China's airline markets.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (July)
    Pages: 361-372

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:29:y:2011:i:4:p:361-372

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

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    Keywords: Price wars Collusion Airline market China;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Fu, Xiaowen & Zhang, Anming & Lei, Zheng, 2012. "Will China’s airline industry survive the entry of high-speed rail?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 13-25.
    2. Brueckner Jan K. & Picard Pierre M., 2013. "Airline Alliances, Carve-Outs and Collusion," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 211-227, June.
    3. Zhang, Qiong & Yang, Hangjun & Wang, Qiang & Zhang, Anming, 2014. "Market power and its determinants in the Chinese airline industry," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Wang, Kun & Fan, Xingli & Fu, Xiaowen & Zhou, Yiran, 2014. "Benchmarking the performance of Chinese airlines: An investigation of productivity, yield and cost competitiveness," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 3-14.

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