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The American Airlines Case: A Chance to Clarify Predation Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Aaron S. Edlin

    (University of California, Berkeley & NBER)

  • Joseph Farrell

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Predation occurs when a firm offers consumers favorable deals, usually in the short run, that get rid of competition and thereby harm consumers in the long run. Modern economic theory has shown how commitment or collective-action problems among consumers can lead to such paradoxical effects. But the paradox does signal danger. Too hawkish a policy might ban favorable deals that are not predatory. It would be ironic indeed if the standards for predatory pricing liability were so low that antitrust suits themselves became a tool for keeping prices high. Predation policy must therefore diagnose the unusual cases where favorable deals harm competition. To this end, courts and commentators have largely defined predation as sacrifice followed, at least plausibly, by recoupment at consumers' expense. The American Airlines case raises difficult questions about this approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron S. Edlin & Joseph Farrell, 2004. "The American Airlines Case: A Chance to Clarify Predation Policy," Law and Economics 0401003, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0401003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael, 2001. "Competition or Predation? Schumpeterian Rivalry in Network Markets," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt6hs0v0pc, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. Severin Borenstein, 1992. "The Evolution of U.S. Airline Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 45-73, Spring.
    3. Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael L, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 413-432, December.
    4. Baumol, William J, 1996. "Predation and the Logic of the Average Variable Cost Test," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 49-72, April.
    5. Klevorick, Alvin K, 1993. "The Current State of the Law and Economics of Predatory Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 162-167, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sayed Ajaz Hussain & Serkan Bahceci, 2008. "Network Structure and Design in the Deregulated U.S. Airline Industry: an Argument for Re-Regulation?," Working Papers tecipa-325, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    2. Granero, Lluís M. & Ordóñez-de-Haro, José M., 2015. "Entry under uncertainty: Limit and most-favored-customer pricing," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 1-11.
    3. Harumi Ito & Darin Lee, 2003. "Incumbent Responses to Lower Cost Entry: Evidence from the U.S. Airline Industry," Working Papers 2003-22, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Kim, Sung-Hwan, 2009. "Predatory reputation in US airline markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 592-604, September.
    5. Stefano Colombo, 2010. "Discriminatory Prices, Predation and Signal-Jamming in a Horizontal Differentiation Model," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 87-104, June.
    6. David Besanko & Ulrich Doraszelski & Yaroslav Kryukov, "undated". "The Economics of Predation: What Drives Pricing When There is Learning-by-Doing?," GSIA Working Papers 2011-E8, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    7. Hugo Ferreira Braga Tadeu & Jersone Tasso Moreira Silva, 2012. "A Theoretical Framework for the Brazilian Airline Competitive Market Environment," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 97-106, May.
    8. Yaroslav Kryukov & Ulrich Doraszelski & David Besanko, "undated". "The economics of predation: What drives pricing when there is learning-by-doing?," GSIA Working Papers 2011-E30, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    9. Farrell Joseph & Shapiro Carl, 2010. "Antitrust Evaluation of Horizontal Mergers: An Economic Alternative to Market Definition," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-41, March.
    10. Christopher Gedge & James W. Roberts & Andrew Sweeting, 2014. "A Model of Dynamic Limit Pricing with an Application to the Airline Industry," NBER Working Papers 20293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Besanko, David & Doraszelski, Ulrich & Kryukov, Yaroslav, 2011. "The economics of predation: What drives pricing when there is learning-by-doing?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8708, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies

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