Is Airline Price Dispersion the Result of Careful Planning or Competitive Forces?
We develop a model of price dispersion to distinguish the impact of price discrimination from that of peak load pricing schemes or atypical competition resulting from the financial difficulties of the early 1990s. By utilizing three alternative measures of dispersion and appealing to economic theory for our specification, we find robust results suggesting an estrangement between price dispersion and price discrimination. While some discrimination continues to persist at monopolized endpoints, most dispersion is associated with fare wars and peak load pricing schemes.
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