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Demand Uncertainty and Capacity Utilization in Airlines

  • Escobari, Diego
  • Lee, Jim

This paper studies the relationship between demand uncertainty—the key source of excess capacity—and capacity utilization in the U.S. airline industry. We present a simple theoretical model that predicts that lower demand realizations are associated with higher demand volatility. This prediction is strongly supported by the results of estimating a panel GARCH framework that pools unique data on capacity utilization across different flights and over various departure dates. A one unit increase in the standard deviation of unexpected demand decreases capacity utilization by 21 percentage points. The estimation controls for unobserved time-invariant specific characteristics as well as for systematic demand fluctuations.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 46059.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:46059
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  1. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Sougata Poddar, 1997. "Demand fluctuations and capacity utilization under duopoly," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 131-146.
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  9. Mantin, Benny & Koo, Bonwoo, 2009. "Dynamic price dispersion in airline markets," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1020-1029, November.
  10. Diego Escobari, 2013. "Asymmetric Price Adjustments in Airlines," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(2), pages 74-85, 03.
  11. Nelson, Randy A, 1989. "On the Measurement of Capacity Utilization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 273-86, March.
  12. Kutlu, Levent, 2012. "Price discrimination in Cournot competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 540-543.
  13. H. Kim, 1999. "Economic Capacity Utilization and its Determinants: Theory and Evidence," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 321-339, December.
  14. Diego Escobari & Sang-Yeob Lee, 2012. "Demand shifting across flights and airports in a spatial competition model," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 175-183, October.
  15. Marco Alderighi, 2010. "The Role of Fences in Oligopolistic Airline Markets," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 44(2), pages 189-206, May.
  16. Hazledine, Tim, 2010. "Oligopoly price discrimination with many prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 150-153, December.
  17. Escobari, Diego, 2009. "Systematic peak-load pricing, congestion premia and demand diverting: Empirical evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 59-61, April.
  18. Steven Berry & Panle Jia, 2008. "Tracing the Woes: An Empirical Analysis of the Airline Industry," NBER Working Papers 14503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bilotkach, Volodymyr & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Talavera, Oleksandr, 2010. "Are airlines' price-setting strategies different?," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-6.
  20. Escobari, Diego, 2011. "Dynamic Pricing, Advance Sales, and Aggregate Demand Learning in Airlines," MPRA Paper 38509, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Diego Escobari & Li Gan, 2007. "Price Dispersion under Costly Capacity and Demand Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 13075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. James D. Dana & Jr., 1998. "Advance-Purchase Discounts and Price Discrimination in Competitive Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 395-422, April.
  23. Martin Gaynor & Gerard F. Anderson, 1993. "Uncertain Demand, The Structure of Hospital Costs, and the Cost of EmptyHospital Beds," NBER Working Papers 4460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in Trucking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1328-1353, September.
  25. 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.
  26. Lee, Jim, 2010. "The link between output growth and volatility: Evidence from a GARCH model with panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 143-145, February.
  27. 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.
  28. Volodymyr Bilotkach & Alberto A. Gaggero & Claudio A. Piga, 2011. "Airline Pricing under Different Market Conditions: Evidence from European Low-Cost Carriers," Working Paper Series 47_11, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  29. Gregory K. Bell & José M. Campa, 1997. "Irreversible Investments And Volatile Markets: A Study Of The Chemical Processing Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 79-87, February.
  30. Shapiro, Matthew D, 1993. "Cyclical Productivity and the Workweek of Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 229-33, May.
  31. Brown, Gardner, Jr & Johnson, M Bruce, 1969. "Public Utility Pricing and Output under Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 119-28, March.
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