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Irrationality rings!: Experimental evidence on mobile tariff choices

  • Barth, Anne-Kathrin
  • Graf, Julia

This paper investigates why consumers choose calling plans that are not always cost-minimizing. Our approach is twofold: we account for general difficultiesfacing a tariff choice, as well as for biased preferences. We provide evidence froman experiment among German university students and staff, finding that participants are often not aware of their actual consumption. In line with the findings on at-rate biases, respondents systematically overestimate their consumption. On the other hand, they are generally able and willing to detect optimal tariffs. Furthermore, with increasing usage level, consumers' performance improves. However, some participants hold preferences for certain tariff forms, seducing them to choose cost-dominated offers. In our setup, we find that respondents prefer tariffs involving subsidies or hire-purchase options for handsets over contracts with buy now options.

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Paper provided by International Telecommunications Society (ITS) in its series 23rd European Regional ITS Conference, Vienna 2012 with number 60376.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:itse12:60376
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.itseurope.org/

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  1. John Morgan & Tanjim Hossain, 2006. "...plus shipping and handling: Revenue (non) equivalence in field experiments on ebay," Natural Field Experiments 00270, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich, 2011. "Consumer behavior towards on-net/off-net price differentiation," DICE Discussion Papers 16, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  3. Clay, Karen B & Sibley, David S & Srinagesh, Padmanabhan, 1992. "Ex Post vs. Ex Ante Pricing: Optional Calling Plans and Tapered Tariffs," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 115-38, June.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  5. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  6. Bolle Friedel & Heimel Jana, 2005. "A Fallacy of Dominant Price Vectors in Network Industries," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 1-8, September.
  7. Srinagesh, P., 1992. "A Dynamic Stochastic Model of choice," Papers 78, Bell Communications - Economic Research Group.
  8. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2003. "Choosing the Wrong Calling Plan? Ignorance and Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 297-310, March.
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