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The effects of competition on price dispersion in the airline industry: a panel analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Kristopher S. Gerardi
  • Adam Hale Shapiro

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of market structure on price dispersion in the airline industry, using panel data from 1993 through 2006. The results found in this paper contrast with those of Borenstein and Rose (1994), who found that price dispersion increases with competition. We find that competition has a negative effect on price dispersion, in line with the textbook treatment of price discrimination. Specifically, the effects of competition on price dispersion are most significant on routes that we identify as having consumers characterized by relatively heterogeneous elasticities of demand. On routes with a more homogenous customer base, the effects of competition on price discrimination are largely insignificant. We conclude from these results that competition acts to erode the ability of a carrier to price discriminate, resulting in reduced overall price dispersion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristopher S. Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro, 2007. "The effects of competition on price dispersion in the airline industry: a panel analysis," Working Papers 07-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:07-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joanna Stavins, 2001. "Price Discrimination in the Airline Market: The Effect of Market Concentration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 200-202, February.
    2. Jan K. Brueckner & Nichola J. Dyer & Pablo T. Spiller, 1992. "Fare Determination in Airline Hub-and-Spoke Networks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 309-333, Autumn.
    3. Austan Goolsbee & Chad Syverson, 2008. "How Do Incumbents Respond to the Threat of Entry? Evidence from the Major Airlines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1611-1633.
    4. Severin Borenstein, 1989. "Hubs and High Fares: Dominance and Market Power in the U.S. Airline Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 344-365, Autumn.
    5. Berry, Steven T, 1992. "Estimation of a Model of Entry in the Airline Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 889-917, July.
    6. Brueckner, Jan K. & Spiller, Pablo T., 1991. "Competition and mergers in airline networks," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 323-342, September.
    7. Ila Alam & Leola Ross & Robin Sickles, 2001. "Time Series Analysis of Strategic Pricing Behavior in the US Airline Industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 49-62, July.
    8. Eden, Benjamin, 1990. "Marginal Cost Pricing When Spot Markets Are Complete," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1293-1306, December.
    9. Borenstein, Severin & Rose, Nancy L, 1994. "Competition and Price Dispersion in the U.S. Airline Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 653-683, August.
    10. Varian, Hal R., 1989. "Price discrimination," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 597-654 Elsevier.
    11. Gale, I., 1992. "Price Dispersion in a Market with Advance Purchases," Working papers 9214, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    12. Berry, Steven T, 1990. "Airport Presence as Product Differentiation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 394-399, May.
    13. Holmes, Thomas J, 1989. "The Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 244-250, March.
    14. Harumi Ito & Darin Lee, 2003. "Low Cost Carrier Growth in the U.S. Airline Industry: Past, Present, and Future," Working Papers 2003-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    15. Prescott, Edward C, 1975. "Efficiency of the Natural Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1229-1236, December.
    16. Evans, William N & Kessides, Ioannis N, 1993. "Localized Market Power in the U.S. Airline Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 66-75, February.
    17. Kathy J. Hayes & Leola B. Ross, 1998. "Is Airline Price Dispersion the Result of Careful Planning or Competitive Forces?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 13(5), pages 523-541, October.
    18. Borenstein, Severin & Rose, Nancy L, 1995. "Bankruptcy and Pricing Behavior in U.S. Airline Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 397-402, May.
    19. Lott, John R, Jr & Roberts, Russell D, 1991. "A Guide to the Pitfalls of Identifying Price Discrimination," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 14-23, January.
    20. James D. Dana Jr., 1999. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion Under Demand Uncertainty: The Roles of Costly Capacity and Market Structure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 632-660, Winter.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Babecký & Fabrizio Coricelli & Roman Horváth, 2009. "Assessing Inflation Persistence: Micro Evidence on an Inflation Targeting Economy," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 59(2), pages 102-127, June.
    2. Evangelinos, Christos & Obermeyer, Andy & Püschel, Ronny, 2011. "Preisdispersion und Wettbewerb im Luftverkehr: Ein theoretischer und empirischer Überblick," Discussion Papers 2/2011, Technische Universität Dresden, "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, Institute of Transport and Economics.
    3. Fabrizio Coricelli & Roman Horvath, 2008. "Price Setting And Market Structure: An Empirical Analysis Of Micro Data," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp938, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    4. Obermeyer, Andy & Evangelinos, Christos & Püschel, Ronny, 2013. "Price dispersion and competition in European airline markets," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 31-34.
    5. Ron Borzekowski & Raphael Thomadsen & Charles Taragin, 2009. "Competition and price discrimination in the market for mailing lists," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 147-179, June.

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    Keywords

    Airlines ; Price discrimination;

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