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Product Unbundling in the Travel Industry: The Economics of Airline Bag Fees

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Author Info

  • Jan K. Brueckner
  • Darin N. Lee
  • Pierre M. Picard
  • Ethan Singer

Abstract

This paper provides theory and evidence on airline bag fees, offering insights into a real-world case of product unbundling. The theory predicts that an airline’s fares should fall when it introduces a bag fee, but that the full trip price (the bag fee plus the new fare) could either rise or fall. The empirical evidence presented in the paper provides strong confirmation of this prediction. The data also suggest that the average fare falls by less than the bag fee itself, so that the full price of a trip rises for passengers who choose to check bags.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-09/cesifo1_wp4397.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4397.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4397

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Related research

Keywords: unbundling; airlines; bag fees;

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References

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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Steven J. Davis, 2000. "A Competitive Perspective on Internet Explorer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 184-187, May.
  2. Glenn Ellison, 2003. "A Model of Add-on Pricing," NBER Working Papers 9721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Schmalensee, Richard, 1982. "Commodity Bundling by Single-Product Monopolies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 67-71, April.
  4. Austan Goolsbee & Chad Syverson, 2008. "How do Incumbents Respond to the Threat of Entry? Evidence from the Major Airlines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1611-1633, November.
  5. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  6. Severin Borenstein, 1989. "Hubs and High Fares: Dominance and Market Power in the U.S. Airline Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 344-365, Autumn.
  7. Gila Fruchter & Eitan Gerstner & Paul Dobson, 2011. "Fee or free? How much to add on for an add-on," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 65-78, March.
  8. Jan K. Brueckner & Nichola J. Dyer & Pablo T. Spiller, 1992. "Fare Determination in Airline Hub-and-Spoke Networks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 309-333, Autumn.
  9. Lewbel, Arthur, 1985. "Bundling of substitutes or complements," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 101-107, March.
  10. Adams, William James & Yellen, Janet L, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-98, August.
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