Journal Article

Estimating Demand for Local Telephone Service with Asymmetric Information and Optional Calling Plans

Eugenio J. Miravete

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 69, issue 4, pages 943-971
Published in print October 2002 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online October 2002 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-937X.00232
Estimating Demand for Local Telephone Service with Asymmetric Information and Optional Calling Plans

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In this paper, I study the theoretical and econometric implications of agents' uncertainty concerning their future consumption when a monopolist offers them either a unique, mandatory nonlinear tariff or a choice in advance from a menu of optional two-part tariffs. Agents' uncertainty is resolved through individual and privately known shocks to their types. In such a situation the principal may screen agents according to their ex ante or ex post type, by offering either a menu of optional tariffs or a standard nonlinear schedule. The theoretical implications of the model are used to evaluate a tariff experiment run by South Central Bell in two cities in Kentucky in 1986. The empirical approach explicitly accounts for the existence of informational asymmetries between local telephone users and the monopolist, leading to different, nested, econometric specifications under symmetric and asymmetric information. The empirical evidence suggests that there exists a significant asymmetry of information between consumers and the monopolist under both tariff regimes. All expected welfare components failed to increase with the introduction of optional tariffs for the estimated value of the parameters.

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Subjects: Economics

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