Price discrimination among ticket service classes is analyzed when aggregate demand is known and individual preferences are private information. Serving customers in cheap second-class seats limits the seller's ability to extract surplus from expensive first-class seats because some switch to the lower class. Discrimination is greatest in the class with the largest variance in demand prices. The seller's incentives to limit substitution by altering the between-class quality spread and the pricing of complementary (concession) goods are also analyzed. These issues depend on comparing "marginal" with "average" customers parallel to the provision of public goods. Finally, when capacity limitations require sequential servicing of buyers in "batches" (for example, theatrical productions), intertemporal price discrimination requires prices to decline over time, so customers with the greatest demand prices buy higher-priced tickets to earlier performances rather than wait for later performances. The rational policy can generate queues for early performances. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.
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University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
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