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Are all those Calling Plans Really Necessary? The Limited Gains From Complex Tariffs


  • Miravete, Eugenio J


This Paper uses an equilibrium model of nonlinear pricing to determine the magnitude of foregone rents due to the implementation of simplified screening mechanisms. I then study the distribution of these foregone rents conditional on observable characteristics of a large sample of independent cellular telephone markets. Estimates reveal that the sample mean of foregone profits for not offering an additional tariff option amounts only to $0.33 (1986 dollars) per subscriber although this amount declines to $0.13 if cellular carriers already offer three tariff options. But these foregone profits only represent 4% and 0.6% of the profits attainable with a fully nonlinear tariff, respectively. The evidence presented in this Paper suggests that, contrary to the current common practice, firms should only offer few tariff options if the product development costs of designing them are non-negligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Miravete, Eugenio J, 2004. "Are all those Calling Plans Really Necessary? The Limited Gains From Complex Tariffs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4237, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4237

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meghan R. Busse, 2000. "Multimarket Contact and Price Coordination in the Cellular Telephone Industry," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 287-320, June.
    2. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2005. "The Welfare Performance Of Sequential Pricing Mechanisms ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1321-1360, November.
    3. Alan J. Auerbach & Anthony J. Pellechio, 1978. "The Two-Part Tariff and Voluntary Market Participation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 571-587.
    4. Miravete, Eugenio J & Röller, Lars-Hendrik, 2003. "Competitive Non-Linear Pricing in Duopoly Equilibrium: The Early US Cellular Telephone Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 4069, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Dionissis Dimopoulos, 1981. "Pricing Schemes for Regulated Enterprises and Their Welfare Implications in the Case of Electricity," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 185-200, Spring.
    6. MacKinnon, James G. & White, Halbert, 1985. "Some heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimators with improved finite sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 305-325, September.
    7. Phillip Leslie, 2004. "Price Discrimination in Broadway Theater," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 520-541, Autumn.
    8. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826.
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    Cited by:

    1. Khaled Diaw & Jérôme Pouyet, 2004. "Competition, Incomplete Discrimination and Versioning," Working Papers 2004-20, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    2. David S. Evans & Michael Salinger, 2005. "Curing Sinus Headaches and Tying Law: An Empirical Analysis of Bundling Decongestants and Pain Relievers," CESifo Working Paper Series 1519, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2004. "The Doubtful Profitability of Foggy Pricing," Working Papers 04-07, NET Institute.
    4. Hunold, Matthias & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Licht, Georg & Nikogosian, Vigen & Stenzel, André & Ullrich, Hannes & Wolf, Christoph, 2011. "Modernisierung der Konzentrationsberichterstattung: Endbericht," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110525.
    5. Khaled Diaw & Jérôme Pouyet, 2005. "Information, competition and (In) complete discrimination," Working Papers hal-00243025, HAL.
    6. David S. Evans & Michael Salinger, 2004. "An Empirical Analysis of Bundling and Tying: Over-the-Counter Pain Relief and Cold Medicines," CESifo Working Paper Series 1297, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    foregone welfare; imperfect screening; multipart tariffs;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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