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Sensitivity of prices to demand shocks: A natural experiment in the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Bilotkach, Volodymyr
  • Gorodnichenko, Yuriy
  • Talavera, Oleksandr

We analyze the impact of a freeway interchange collapse in the San Francisco Bay Area on the difference in airfare quotes for travel into the area’s main airports. The incident temporarily made Oakland airport a less attractive choice for traveling to San Francisco, so we hypothesize that fares for travel into Oakland will be relatively lower while the freeway interchange was out of service. We test our contention using a sample of fare quotes collected on-line, and find the expected effect of a magnitude of 6–7%. Our results imply the following important conclusions. First, the demand-side shock was well absorbed by the supply side. Second, adjustment of prices and return to the status quo once the shock vanished was swift.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

Volume (Year): 46 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 1137-1151

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Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:46:y:2012:i:7:p:1137-1151
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  1. Pels, Eric & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 2003. "Access to and competition between airports: a case study for the San Francisco Bay area," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 71-83, January.
  2. Escobari, Diego & Jindapon, Paan, 2014. "Price Discrimination through Refund Contracts in Airlines," MPRA Paper 53629, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
  4. Brownstone, David & Small, Kenneth A., 2005. "Valuing time and reliability: assessing the evidence from road pricing demonstrations," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 279-293, May.
  5. Harumi Ito & Darin Lee, 2007. "Domestic Code Sharing, Alliances, and Airfares in the U.S. Airline Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 355-380.
  6. Small, Kenneth A, 2004. "6. Road Pricing And Public Transport," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 133-158, January.
  7. Basar, Gözen & Bhat, Chandra, 2004. "A parameterized consideration set model for airport choice: an application to the San Francisco Bay Area," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 889-904, December.
  8. Jun Ishii & Sunyoung Jun & Kurt Van Dender, 2006. "Air Travel Choices in Multi-Airport Markets," Working Papers 050622, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  9. Eric Pels & Peter Nijkamp & Piet Rietveld, 2001. "Airport and Airline Choice in a Multiple Airport Region: An Empirical Analysis for the San Francisco Bay Area," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 1-9.
  10. Arnott, Richard J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1981. "Aggregate Land Rents and Aggregate Transport Costs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 331-47, June.
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