Uncertain Demand, Consumer Loss Aversion, and Flat-Rate Tariffs
The so called flat-rate bias is a well documented phenomenon caused by consumers' desire to be insured against fluctuations in their billing amounts. This paper shows that expectation-based loss aversion provides a formal explanation for this bias. We solve for the optimal two-part tariff when contracting with loss-averse consumers who are uncertain about their demand. The optimal tariff is a flat rate if marginal cost of production is low compared to a consumer's degree of loss aversion and if there is enough variation in the consumer's demand. Moreover, if consumers differ with respect to the degree of loss aversion, firms' optimal menu of tariffs typically comprises a flat-rate contract.
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- Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006.
"A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
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- Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0w82b6nm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000341, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Milgrom,Paul, 2004. "Putting Auction Theory to Work," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521536721, December.
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- Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2001. "Competitive Price Discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 579-605, Winter.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Lars A. Stole, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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