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Irrationality rings! - Experimental evidence on mobile tariff choices

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  • Barth, Anne-Kathrin
  • Graf, Julia

Abstract

This paper investigates why consumers choose calling plans that are not always cost-minimizing. Our approach is twofold: we account for general difficulties facing a tariff choice, as well as for biased preferences. We provide evidence from an experiment among German university students and staff, finding that participants are often not aware of their actual consumption. In line with the findings on at-rate biases, respondents systematically overestimate their consumption. On the other hand, they are generally able and willing to detect optimal tariffs. Furthermore, with increasing usage level, consumers' performance improves. However, some participants hold strong preferences for certain tariff forms, seducing them to choose cost-dominated offers. In our setup, we find that respondents prefer tariffs involving subsidies or hire-purchase options for handsets over contracts with buy now options. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) in its series DICE Discussion Papers with number 36.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:36

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Keywords: Behavioral Economics; Mobile phone tariffs; Handset subsidy; Hire-purchase of device;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Srinagesh, P., 1992. "A Dynamic Stochastic Model of choice," Papers 78, Bell Communications - Economic Research Group.
  3. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
  4. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich, 2011. "Consumer behavior towards on-net/off-net price differentiation," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 325-332, May.
  5. Clay, Karen B & Sibley, David S & Srinagesh, Padmanabhan, 1992. "Ex Post vs. Ex Ante Pricing: Optional Calling Plans and Tapered Tariffs," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 115-38, June.
  6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  8. Bolle Friedel & Heimel Jana, 2005. "A Fallacy of Dominant Price Vectors in Network Industries," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 1-8, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Haucap, Justus & Herr, Annika & Frank, Björn, 2011. "In vino veritas: Theory and evidence on social drinking," DICE Discussion Papers 37, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Stühmeier Torben & Wenzel Tobias, 2012. "Regulating Advertising in the Presence of Public Service Broadcasting," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-23, June.
  3. Gu, Yiquan & Wenzel, Tobias, 2011. "Transparency, entry, and productivity," DICE Discussion Papers 39, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  4. Muck, Johannes, 2012. "The effect of on-net / off-net differentiation and heterogeneuous consumers on network size in mobile telecommunications : an agent-based aporoach," 23rd European Regional ITS Conference, Vienna 2012 60355, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  5. Christin, Clémence, 2011. "Entry deterrence through cooperative R&D over-investment," DICE Discussion Papers 38, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  6. Muck, Johannes, 2012. "The Effect of On-net/Off-net Differentiation and Heterogeneous Consumers on Network Size in Mobile Telecommunications – An Agent-based Approach," 19th ITS Biennial Conference, Bangkok 2012: Moving Forward with Future Technologies - Opening a Platform for All 72477, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).

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