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Does Responsive Pricing Smooth Demand Shocks?

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  • Courty, Pascal
  • Pagliero, Mario

Abstract

Using data from a unique pricing experiment, we investigate Vickrey’s conjecture that responsive pricing can be used to smooth both predictable and unpredictable demand shocks. Our evidence shows that increasing the responsiveness of price to demand conditions reduces the magnitude of deviations in capacity utilization rates from a pre-determined target level. A 10 percent increase in price variability leads to a decrease in the variability of capacity utilization rates between 2 and 6 percent. We discuss implications for the use of demand-side incentives to deal with congestible resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Courty, Pascal & Pagliero, Mario, 2008. "Does Responsive Pricing Smooth Demand Shocks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6662
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Herriges, Joseph A, et al, 1993. "The Response of Industrial Customers to Electric Rates Based upon Dynamic Marginal Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 446-454.
    2. Courty, Pascal & Pagliero, Mario, 2010. "Price variation antagonism and firm pricing policies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 235-249, August.
    3. Robert H. Patrick & Frank A. Wolak, 2001. "Estimating the Customer-Level Demand for Electricity Under Real-Time Market Prices," NBER Working Papers 8213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pascal Courty & Mario Pagliero, 2008. "Responsive pricing," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 235-259.
    5. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "A Theory of Monopoly Pricing Schemes with Demand Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 347-365.
    6. Peter M. Schwarz & Thomas N. Taylor & Matthew Birmingham & Shana L. Dardan, 2002. "Industrial Response to Electricity Real-Time Prices: Short Run and Long Run," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 597-610, October.
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    8. Thomas Taylor & Peter Schwarz, 2000. "Advance notice of real-time electricity prices," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, pages 478-488.
    9. Aubin, Christophe, et al, 1995. "Real-Time Pricing of Electricity for Residential Customers: Econometric Analysis of an Experiment," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(S), pages 171-191, Suppl. De.
    10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 728-741.
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    12. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2003. "Choosing the Wrong Calling Plan? Ignorance and Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 297-310.
    13. Crew, Michael A & Fernando, Chitru S & Kleindorfer, Paul R, 1995. "The Theory of Peak-Load Pricing: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 215-248, November.
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    15. Pascal Courty & Mario Pagliero, 2008. "Responsive pricing," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 235-259.
    16. C. Robin Lindsey & Erik T. Verhoef, 2000. "Traffic Congestion and Congestion Pricing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-101/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    capacity utilization; Consumer demand; price variability; responsive pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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