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Airline choice, switching costs and frequent flyer programmes

  • Fredrik Carlsson
  • �sa Lofgren

Switching costs are costs that customers face when switching from one firm to another. In markets such as the airline market where repeated purchases are common, switching costs may be substantial. In this paper, the switching costs are estimated for domestic airline routes in Sweden between 1992 and 2002. In addition, the determinants of these switching costs are tested for; in particular, to what extent factors such as frequent flyer programmes and flag carriers have an effect on switching costs. A substantial switching cost is found. Although a large part of this calculated switching cost can be attributed to perceived quality differences, it is also found that frequent flyer programmes contribute a non-negligible part of the switching cost. The paper ends with a brief discussion on the welfare consequences of switching costs, where the connection between habit formation and switching costs is discussed.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2006)
Issue (Month): 13 ()
Pages: 1469-1475

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:13:p:1469-1475
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  1. Klemperer, Paul, 1995. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 515-39, October.
  2. Joseph Farrell and Carl Shapiro., 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," Economics Working Papers 8865, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Moshe Kim & Doron Kliger & Bent Vale, 2001. "Estimating Switching Costs and Oligopolistic Behavior," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-13, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  5. Raquel Carrasco & José M. Labeaga & J. David López-Salido, 2002. "Consumption And Habits: Evidence From Panel Data," Economics Working Papers we023415, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  6. Löfgren, Åsa, 2003. "The Effect of Addiction on Environmental Taxation in a First and Second-best world," Working Papers in Economics 91, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  7. Pollak, Robert A, 1970. "Habit Formation and Dynamic Demand Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 745-63, Part I Ju.
  8. Proussaloglou, Kimon & Koppelman, Frank S., 1999. "The choice of air carrier, flight, and fare class," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 193-201.
  9. Robert D. Cairns & John W. Galbraith, 1990. "Artificial Compatibility, Barriers to Entry, and Frequent-Flyer Programs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(4), pages 807-16, November.
  10. Shy, Oz, 2002. "A quick-and-easy method for estimating switching costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 71-87, January.
  11. Beggs, Alan W & Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 651-66, May.
  12. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
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