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Tomb price discrimination in cemeteries: competition in the market for corpses?

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Author Info

  • FRANCISCO MARCOS

    ()
    (Instituto de Empresa)

  • JUAN SANTALO

    ()
    (Instituto de Empresa)

Abstract

We study empirically the determinants of public tomb prices in a sample of Spanish towns. We document strong evidence in favor that cemeteries act as local monopolies that use second degree price discrimination to maximize profits. Additionally we report that local cemetery prices react to competition from private cremation companies. This competition is associated with lower price dispersion caused by an increase in the minimum niche prices with no effect on other higher niche prices. We conclude that cemeteries have accommodated and facilitated entry of private cremation companies through an increase in those niche prices more likely to affect cremation demand.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment in its series Working Papers Economia with number wp07-09.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:emp:wpaper:wp07-09

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Keywords: Administrative law; Non-market regulation; Public prices;

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  1. Marc IVALDI & David MARTIMORT, 1994. "Competition under Nonlinear Pricing," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 71-114.
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  3. Peltzman, Sam, 1971. "Pricing in Public and Private Enterprises: Electric Utilities in the United States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 109-47, April.
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  5. Lynk, William J. & Neumann, Lynette R., 1999. "Price and profit," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 99-116, January.
  6. Meghan Busse & Marc Rysman, 2005. "Competition and Price Discrimination in Yellow Pages Advertising," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 378-390, Summer.
  7. Keeler, Emmett B. & Melnick, Glenn & Zwanziger, Jack, 1999. "The changing effects of competition on non-profit and for-profit hospital pricing behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 69-86, January.
  8. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark B. McClellan, 1999. "Is Hospital Competition Socially Wasteful?," NBER Working Papers 7266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Peter C. Reiss, 1987. "Do Entry Conditions Vary across Markets?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 833-882.
  10. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 2001. "Antitrust and the Not-For-Profit Sector," NBER Working Papers 8126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Dranove, David & Ludwick, Richard, 1999. "Competition and pricing by nonprofit hospitals: a reassessment of Lynk's analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 87-98, January.
  12. John Simpson & Richard Shin, 1998. "Do Nonprofit Hospitals Exercise Market Power?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 141-157.
  13. Judith Chevalier & Fiona Scott Morton, 2006. "State Casket Sales and Restrictions: A Pointless Undertaking?," NBER Working Papers 12012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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