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Multiple Equilibria and Deterrence in Airline Markets

  • Ciliberto, Federico
  • Zhang, Zhou

We use data from the US airline industry to estimate a model of entry deterrence. We model the interaction among airlines as a repeated static game, where we allow for a very general form of heterogeneity. We consider a menu of three alternative games that describe the strategic interaction among airlines: simultaneous and sequential move games, and a sequential move game with deterrence investments. Following Bernheim [1984], deterrence investments include all investment that raises barriers to entry, and for which the incumbent must incur some investment costs. We show that the profits that incumbents can make in the sequential game, both with and without deterrence investments, are larger than those that they can make if the game is played simultaneously. Thus, we find that on average it is profitable for all firms to deter new entrants, with the exception of United Airlines. Remarkably, United Airlines was under bankruptcy protection during the period of analysis, suggesting that its deterrence investments were not credible. Overall, we find that the data is explained better by a model where firms make deterrence investments. Thus, we cannot reject the hypothesis that incumbents deter entrants in the airline industry.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 53232.

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Date of creation: 26 Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53232
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  1. Austan Goolsbee & Chad Syverson, 2004. "How Do Incumbents Respond to the Threat of Entry? Evidence from the Major Airlines," Working Papers 04-04, NET Institute, revised Dec 2004.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1983. "Learning-by-Doing and Market Performance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 522-530, Autumn.
  3. Schmalensee, Richard, 1981. "Economies of Scale and Barriers to Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1228-38, December.
  4. Vrinda Kadiyali, 1996. "Entry, Its Deterrence, and Its Accommodation: A Study of the U.S. Photographic Film Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 452-478, Autumn.
  5. Ciliberto, Federico & Williams, Jonathan, 2009. "Limited Access to Airport Facilities and Market Power in the Airline Industry," MPRA Paper 24889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Elie Tamer, 2003. "Incomplete Simultaneous Discrete Response Model with Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 147-165.
  7. Dixit, Avinash, 1979. "The Role of Investment in Entry-Deterrence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 140, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2011. "Strategic Entry Deterrence and the Behavior of Pharmaceutical Incumbents Prior to Patent Expiration," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-36, February.
  9. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1990. "Entry in Monopoly Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 531-53, October.
  10. Elie Tamer, 2003. "Incomplete Simultaneous Discrete Response Model with Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 147-165, January.
  11. Michael J. Mazzeo, 2002. "Product Choice and Oligopoly Market Structure," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(2), pages 221-242, Summer.
  12. Berry, Steven T, 1992. "Estimation of a Model of Entry in the Airline Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 889-917, July.
  13. Victor Chernozhukov & Han Hong & Elie Tamer, 2007. "Estimation and Confidence Regions for Parameter Sets in Econometric Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1243-1284, 09.
  14. Richard Schmalensee, 1978. "Entry Deterrence in the Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 305-327, Autumn.
  15. Judith R. Gelman & Steven C. Salop, 1983. "Judo Economics: Capacity Limitation and Coupon Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 315-325, Autumn.
  16. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1984. "Strategic Deterrence of Sequential Entry into an Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 1-11, Spring.
  17. 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.
  18. Kenneth L. Judd, 1985. "Credible Spatial Preemption," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 153-166, Summer.
  19. A. Michael Spence, 1977. "Entry, Capacity, Investment and Oligopolistic Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 534-544, Autumn.
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