NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Steven Wiggins

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Working Papers

December 2009Testing Theories of Scarcity Pricing in the Airline Industry
with Steven L. Puller, Anirban Sengupta: w15555
This paper investigates why passengers pay substantially different fares for travel on the same airline between the same two airports. We investigate questions that are fundamentally different from those in the existing literature on airline price dispersion. We use a unique new dataset to test between two broad classes of theories regarding airline pricing. The first group of theories, as advanced by Dana (1999b) and Gale and Holmes (1993), postulates that airlines practice scarcity based pricing and predicts that variation in ticket prices is driven by differences between high demand and low demand periods. The second group of theories is that airlines practice price discrimination by using ticketing restrictions to segment customers by willingness to pay. We use a unique dataset, a ...

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