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Does competition increase quality? Evidence from the US airline industry

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  • Gil, Ricard
  • Kim, Myongjin

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of competition on quality provision in the US airline industry exploiting a novel source of exogenous variation in competition. While mergers among market incumbents may stifle competition, a merger may increase the probability of entry if the merging airlines were not operating prior to merger in the market but each of them had presence at different route endpoints. We find non-merging incumbent airlines increase their flight frequency upon entry threat and accommodate entry of the newly merged airline by lowering flight frequency upon entry. While non-merging incumbents reduced arrival delays only upon entry of the newly merged airline, we find that incumbents decrease their cancelation rates and departure delays both upon merger announcement and entry of the newly merged airline. Our evidence suggests an increase in competition may increase consumer surplus, because non-merging incumbents increase quality and convenience, while keeping their prices unchanged.

Suggested Citation

  • Gil, Ricard & Kim, Myongjin, 2021. "Does competition increase quality? Evidence from the US airline industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:77:y:2021:i:c:s0167718721000357
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijindorg.2021.102742
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competition; Airlines; Quality; Flight frequency; On-time performance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation

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