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Efficiency and Competition in the Airline Industry


  • David R. Graham
  • Daniel P. Kaplan
  • David S. Sibley


After reviewing some recent developments in the airline industry, this article tests two hypotheses that were central to the argument for deregulation: (1) that CAB regulation caused airlines to employ excess capacity relative to the capacity that would be provided under unregulated competition; and (2) that potential competition would keep fares at cost even in highly concentrated markets. An econometric analysis of these hypotheses based on postderegulation data suggests that the excess capacity hypothesis is essentially confirmed. In contrast, the pattern of fares in late 1980 and early 1981 does not support the potential competition hypothesis that fares are independent of market concentration.

Suggested Citation

  • David R. Graham & Daniel P. Kaplan & David S. Sibley, 1983. "Efficiency and Competition in the Airline Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 118-138, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:14:y:1983:i:spring:p:118-138

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    Cited by:

    1. Manuela, Wilfred S. & Rhoades, Dawna L. & Curtis, Tamilla, 2016. "The U.S. Airways Group: A post-merger analysis," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(PB), pages 138-150.
    2. Bae, Kee-Hong & Kang, Jun-Koo & Wang, Jin, 2011. "Employee treatment and firm leverage: A test of the stakeholder theory of capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 130-153, April.
    3. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-746, August.
    4. Joseph A. Clougherty & Anming Zhang, 2009. "Domestic rivalry and export performance: theory and evidence from international airline markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 440-468, May.
    5. Bergantino, Angela Stefania & Capozza, Claudia, 2015. "One price for all? Price discrimination and market captivity: Evidence from the Italian city-pair markets," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 231-244.
    6. Angela Stefania Bergantino & Claudia Capozza, 2015. "Airline Pricing Behavior Under Limited Inter-Modal Competition," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 700-713, January.
    7. Dunn, Abe, 2008. "Do low-quality products affect high-quality entry? Multiproduct firms and nonstop entry in airline markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1074-1089, September.
    8. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne & Dryden, Neil, 1997. "What makes firms perform well?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 783-796, April.
    9. Joanna Stavins, 1996. "Price discrimination in the airline market: the effect of market concentration," Working Papers 96-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    10. Moreno-Izquierdo, L. & Ramón-Rodríguez, A. & Perles Ribes, J., 2015. "The impact of the internet on the pricing strategies of the European low cost airlines," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 246(2), pages 651-660.
    11. Michael D. Whinston & Scott C. Collins, 1990. "Entry, Contestability, and Deregulated Airline Markets: An Event Study Analysis of People Express," NBER Working Papers 3318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Audretsch, David B. & Baumol, William J. & Burke, Andrew E., 2001. "Competition policy in dynamic markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 613-634, April.
    13. Czerny, Achim I. & van den Berg, Vincent A.C. & Verhoef, Erik T., 2016. "Carrier collaboration with endogenous fleets and load factors when networks are complementary," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 285-297.
    14. Poltavets Ivan, 2005. "Productivity Differential and Competition: Can an Old Dog be Taught New Tricks?," EERC Working Paper Series 05-09e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    15. Basant, Rakesh & Mishra, Pulak, 2013. "Concentration and Other Determinants of Innovative Efforts in Indian Manufacturing Sector: A Dynamic Panel Data Analysis," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-02-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    16. Richard V. Butler & John H. Huston, 1989. "Merger Mania and Airline Fares," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 7-16, Jan-Mar.
    17. Manuela, Wilfred Jr., 2007. "Airline liberalization effects on fare: The case of the Philippines," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 161-167, February.
    18. Alexander M. Goulielmos & Ioannis M. Sitzimis, 2014. "The Liberalization process of the Ferry System in Greece, 2001-2014 (August): What are the benefits to users of Aegean Sea Transportation?," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 64(4), pages 39-66, October-D.
    19. Zou, Bo & Hansen, Mark, 2014. "Flight delay impact on airfare and flight frequency: A comprehensive assessment," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 54-74.
    20. Malighetti, Paolo & Redondi, Renato & Salanti, Andrea, 2014. "Competitive vs. monopolistic routes: Are fares so different?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 3-8.
    21. Brueckner, Jan K. & Lee, Darin & Singer, Ethan S., 2013. "Airline competition and domestic US airfares: A comprehensivereappraisal," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-17.
    22. Achim I. Czerny & Vincent A.C. van den Berg & Erik T. Verhoef, 2015. "Complementary Alliances with Endogenous Fleets and Load Factors," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-134/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    23. Zhang, Qiong & Yang, Hangjun & Wang, Qiang, 2017. "Impact of high-speed rail on China’s Big Three airlines," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 77-85.
    24. Jurkus, Anthony F. & Park, Jung Chul & Woodard, Lorraine S., 2011. "Women in top management and agency costs," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 180-186, February.

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