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The Consumer Gains from Direct Broadcast Satellites and the Competition with Cable Television

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  • Austan Goolsbee
  • Amil Petrin

Abstract

This paper examines the introduction of Direct Broadcast Satellites as an alternative to cable television and the welfare gains such satellites generated for consumers. The extent to which satellites compete with cable has become an important issue in the debate over re-regulation of cable prices. We estimate a consumer level demand system for satellite, basic cable, premium cable and local antenna using extensive micro data on the television choices of more than 15,000 people as well as price and characteristics data on cable companies throughout the nation. The results indicate that, after properly controlling for unobservable product attributes and the endogeneity of prices, the direct welfare gain to satellite buyers averages about $50 dollars per year or approximately $450 million annually in the aggregate. Estimates that do not control for unobserved attributes and endogenous prices overstate the welfare gains by almost a factor of fifteen. The price sensitivity of satellite to both its own price and the price of cable is extremely high. The price sensitivity of cable, however, is low, likely indicating that satellite is not a close substitute at the time of our sample.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8317.

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Date of creation: Jun 2001
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Publication status: published as Goolsbee, Austan and Amil Petrin. "The Consumer Gains From Direct Broadcast Satellites And The Competition With Cable TV," Econometrica, 2004, v72(2,Mar), 351-381.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8317

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  1. The welfare effect of Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios
    by datacharmer in bluematter on 2007-09-25 00:05:00
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Cited by:
  1. Gao, Maija & Hyytinen, Ari & Toivanen, Otto, 2005. "Demand for Mobile Internet: Evidence from a Real-World Pricing Experiment," Discussion Papers 964, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  2. Erik Brynjolfsson & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Michael D. Smith, 2003. "Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(11), pages 1580-1596, November.
  3. Gilbert, Richard & Ratliff, James, 2007. "Sky Wars: The Attempted Merger of EchoStar and DirecTV (2000)," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt38p01826, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Pinar Karaca-Mandic, 2011. "Role of complementarities in technology adoption: The case of DVD players," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 179-210, June.
  5. Judith Chevalier & Austan Goolsbee, 2009. "Are Durable Goods Consumers Forward-Looking? Evidence from College Textbooks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1853-1884, November.
  6. Elizabeth Klee, 2006. "Paper or plastic? the effect of time on the use of check and debit cards at grocery stores," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-02, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Khan, Beethika S., 2004. "Consumer Adoption of Online Banking: Does Distance Matter?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2bt1d76s, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Beethika Khan, 2004. "Consumer Adoption of Online Banking: Does Distance Matter?," Development and Comp Systems 0407002, EconWPA.

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