Changing the Numbers: UK Directory Enquiries Deregulation and the Failure of Choice
In 2003, the UK `liberalised' its telephone directory enquiries service with the aim of introducing competition so as to improve quality and lower costs. Unfortunately the results did not match expectations. Proliferation of numbers led to consumer confusion and high price firms with no discernible quality advantages but which employed heavy advertising came to dominate the market. Consumer and total welfare appear to have declined. This example raises important questions for regulators. In particular, with limits on information and rationality, it may sometimes be better to limit choice but increase competition to supply that choice.
References listed on IDEAS
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- Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
- van Rooij, Maarten C.J. & Kool, Clemens J.M. & Prast, Henriette M., 2007.
"Risk-return preferences in the pension domain: Are people able to choose?,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 701-722, April.
- Maarten van Rooij & Clemens Kool & Henriëtte Prast, 2005. "Risk-return preferences in the pension domain: are people able to choose?," DNB Working Papers 025, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- van Rooij, M.C.J. & Kool, C.J.M. & Prast, H.M., 2007. "Risk-return preferences in the pension domain : Are people able to choose?," Other publications TiSEM 22820590-ad4e-4abc-bd21-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- M.C.J. van Rooij & C.J.M. Kool & H.M. Prast, 2005. "Risk-return preferences in the pension domain: are people able to choose?," Working Papers 05-04, Utrecht School of Economics.
- Henrik Cronqvist & Richard H. Thaler, 2004. "Design Choices in Privatized Social-Security Systems: Learning from the Swedish Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 424-428, May.
- Monica Giulietti & Catherine Waddams Price & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Consumer Choice and Competition Policy: a Study of UK Energy Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 949-968, October. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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