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Uncertain demand, consumer loss aversion, and flat-rate tariffs

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  • Fabian Herweg
  • Konrad Mierendorff

Abstract

We consider a model of firm pricing and consumer choice, where consumers are loss averse and uncertain about their future demand. Possibly, consumers in our model prefer a flat rate to a measured tariff, even though this choice does not minimize their expected billing amount—a behavior in line with ample empirical evidence. We solve for the profit-maximizing two-part tariff, which is a flat rate if (a) marginal costs are not too high, (b) loss aversion is intense, and (c) there are strong variations in demand. Moreover, we analyze the optimal nonlinear tariff. This tariff has a large flat part when a flat rate is optimal among the class of two-part tariffs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 012.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:012

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Keywords: Consumer loss aversion; flat-rate tariffs; nonlinear pricing; uncertain demand;

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  1. Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0w82b6nm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Stole, Lars A, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311, January.
  3. Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721.
  4. Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2001. "Competitive Price Discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 579-605, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Herweg, Fabian, 2012. "The Expectation-Based Loss-Averse Newsvendor," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 389, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Juan Carlos Carbajal & Jeffrey C. Ely, 2012. "Optimal Contracts for Loss Averse Consumers," Discussion Papers Series 460, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  3. Kohei Daido & Takeshi Murooka, 2013. "Loss Aversion, Stochastic Compensation, and Team Incentives," Discussion Paper Series 107, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Jul 2013.
  4. Michael D. Grubb & Matthew Osborne, 2012. "Cellular Service Demand: Biased Beliefs, Learning, and Bill Shock," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 829, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Kohei Daido & Takeshi Murooka, 2011. "Team Incentives and Reference-Dependent Preferences," Discussion Paper Series 70, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2011.
  6. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Lange, Mirjam R. J., 2014. "The impact of tariff diversity on broadband diffusion: An empirical analysis," DICE Discussion Papers 156, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  7. Daido, Kohei & Morita, Kimiyuki & Murooka, Takeshi & Ogawa, Hiromasa, 2013. "Task assignment under agent loss aversion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 35-38.

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