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Quality Disclosure Programs and Internal Organizational Practices: Evidence from Airline Flight Delays


  • Silke J. Forbes
  • Mara Lederman
  • Trevor Tombe


Disclosure programs exist in many industries in which consumers are poorly informed about product quality. We study a disclosure program for airline on-time performance, which ranks airlines based on the fraction of their flights that arrive less than 15 minutes late. The program creates incentives for airlines to focus their efforts on flights close to this threshold. We find that firms in this industry are heterogeneous in how they respond to these incentives. Moreover, this heterogeneity correlates with internal firm characteristics. Our findings highlight the importance of interactions between incentives created by a disclosure program and firms' internal organizational practices. (JEL D22, L15, L25, L93)

Suggested Citation

  • Silke J. Forbes & Mara Lederman & Trevor Tombe, 2015. "Quality Disclosure Programs and Internal Organizational Practices: Evidence from Airline Flight Delays," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 1-26, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:7:y:2015:i:2:p:1-26
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20130164

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    Cited by:

    1. Bet, Germán, 2021. "Product specification under a threat of entry: Evidence from Airlines’ departure times," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    2. Alan Benson, 2015. "Do Agents Game Their Agents' Behavior? Evidence from Sales Managers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 863-890.
    3. Huan Cao & Xu Guan & Tijun Fan & Li Zhou, 2020. "The Acquisition of Quality Information in a Supply Chain with Voluntary vs. Mandatory Disclosure," Production and Operations Management, Production and Operations Management Society, vol. 29(3), pages 595-616, March.
    4. Gnutzmann, Hinnerk & Śpiewanowski, Piotr, 2023. "Can consumer rights improve on-time performance? Evidence from European Air Passenger Rights," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 155-168.
    5. Silke J. Forbes & Mara Lederman & Zhe Yuan, 2019. "Do Airlines Pad Their Schedules?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 54(1), pages 61-82, February.
    6. Yimga, Jules, 2018. "Domestic code-sharing agreements and on-time performance: Evidence from the US airline industry," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 14-27.
    7. Makofske, Matthew Philip, 2020. "Disclosure policies in inspection programs: The role of specific deterrence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    8. Jason Miller & Beth Davis‐Sramek & Brian S. Fugate & Mark Pagell & Barbara B. Flynn, 2021. "Editorial Commentary: Addressing Confusion in the Diffusion of Archival Data Research," Journal of Supply Chain Management, Institute for Supply Management, vol. 57(3), pages 130-146, July.
    9. Forbes, Silke J. & Lederman, Mara & Wither, Michael J., 2019. "Quality disclosure when firms set their own quality targets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 228-250.
    10. Makofske, Matthew Philip, 2020. "Mandatory disclosure, letter-grade systems, and corruption: The case of Los Angeles County restaurant inspections," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 292-313.
    11. Martina Zámková & Luboš Střelec & Martin Prokop & Radek Stolín, 2021. "Flight Delay Causes at Selected Visegrad Group International Airports," European Journal of Business Science and Technology, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics, vol. 7(1), pages 91-108.
    12. Martina Zámková & Stanislav Rojík & Martin Prokop & Radek Stolín, 2022. "Factors Affecting the International Flight Delays and Their Impact on Airline Operation and Management and Passenger Compensations Fees in Air Transport Industry: Case Study of a Selected Airlines in ," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(22), pages 1-16, November.
    13. Makofske, Matthew, 2022. "Disclosure Policy Design and Regulatory Agent Behavior," MPRA Paper 113623, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Joost Rietveld & Robert Seamans & Katia Meggiorin, 2021. "Market Orchestrators: The Effects of Certification on Platforms and Their Complementors," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 6(3), pages 244-264, September.
    15. Xun Bian & Justin C. Contat & Bennie D. Waller & Scott A. Wentland, 2023. "Why Disclose Less Information? Toward Resolving a Disclosure Puzzle in the Housing Market," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 66(2), pages 443-486, February.
    16. Yimga, Jules & Gorjidooz, Javad, 2019. "Airline schedule padding and consumer choice behavior," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 71-79.
    17. Sarah Dolfin & Nan Maxwell & Alix Gould-Werth & Armando Yañez & Jonah Deutsch & Libby Hendrix, "undated". "Compliance Strategies Evaluation Literature and Database Review," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 92ddb450d98b4b128f4fd1442, Mathematica Policy Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation


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