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Does Responsive Pricing Smooth Demand Shocks?

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  • Pascal Courty
  • Mario Pagliero

Abstract

Using data from a unique pricing experiment, we investigate Vickrey’s conjecture that responsive pricing can be used to smooth both predictable and unpredictable demand shocks. Our evidence shows that increasing the responsiveness of price to demand conditions reduces the magnitude of deviations in capacity utilization rates from a pre-determined target level. A 10 percent increase in price variability leads to a decrease in the variability of capacity utilization rates between 2 and 6 percent. We discuss implications for the use of demand-side incentives to deal with congestible resources.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2008/01.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2008/01

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Keywords: Consumer demand; responsive pricing; capacity utilization; price variability;

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  1. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  2. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2003. "Choosing the Wrong Calling Plan? Ignorance and Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 297-310, March.
  3. Pascal Courty & Mario Pagliero, 2006. "Price Variation Antagonism and Firm Pricing Policies," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/27, European University Institute.
  4. Aubin, Christophe & Fougère, Denis & Husson, Emmanuel & Ivaldi, Marc, 1994. "Real-Time Pricing of Electricity of Residential Customers: Econometric Analysis of an Experiment," IDEI Working Papers 46, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Thomas Taylor & Peter Schwarz, 2000. "Advance notice of real-time electricity prices," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 28(4), pages 478-488, December.
  6. Borenstein, Severin & Rose, Nancy L, 1994. "Competition and Price Dispersion in the U.S. Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 653-83, August.
  7. C. Robin Lindsey & Erik T. Verhoef, 2000. "Traffic Congestion and Congestion Pricing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-101/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Peter M. Schwarz & Thomas N. Taylor & Matthew Birmingham & Shana L. Dardan, 2002. "Industrial Response to Electricity Real-Time Prices: Short Run and Long Run," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 597-610, October.
  9. William Vickrey, 1971. "Responsive Pricing of Public Utility Services," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 337-346, Spring.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  11. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "A Theory of Monopoly Pricing Schemes with Demand Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 347-65, June.
  12. Herriges, Joseph A. & Baladi, S. M. & Caves, Douglas W. & Neenan, B. F., 1993. "The Response of Industrial Customers to Electric Rates Based Upon Dynamic Marginal Costs," Staff General Research Papers 1497, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  13. Pascal Courty & Mario Pagliero, 2008. "Responsive pricing," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 235-259, February.
  14. Crew, Michael A & Fernando, Chitru S & Kleindorfer, Paul R, 1995. "The Theory of Peak-Load Pricing: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 215-48, November.
  15. C. Robin Lindsey & Erik T. Verhoef, 2000. "Traffic Congestion and Congestion Pricing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-101/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  16. Robert H. Patrick & Frank A. Wolak, 2001. "Estimating the Customer-Level Demand for Electricity Under Real-Time Market Prices," NBER Working Papers 8213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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