A Welfare Assessment of Revenue Management Systems

74 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2015

See all articles by Nicolas Dupuis

Nicolas Dupuis

Toulouse School of Economics

Marc Ivaldi

Toulouse School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jérôme Pouyet

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS); National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: February 2015

Abstract

We study the welfare impact of revenue management, i.e. intertemporal price discrimination when the product availability is limited both in time and quantity, and consumers' arrival is random. This practice is particularly relevant, and widely spread, in the transport industry, but little is known about its implications on profits and consumer surplus. We develop a theoretical model of revenue management allowing for heterogeneity in product characteristics, capacity constraints, consumer preferences, and probabilities of arrival. We also introduce dynamic competition between revenue managers. We solve this model computationally and recover the optimal pricing strategies. We find that revenue management is welfare enhancing. Revenue managers face two types of constraints: a limited booking period and fixed capacities. Previous sales affect the relative slackness of these two constraints, explaining price variations. Profits increase as the practice offers more leeway to the seller compared to posting a fixed price throughout the booking period. Total consumer surplus also increases for a wide range of specifications, as revenue management raises the number of sales. In the presence of heterogeneous consumers, consumers with low price sensitivity subsidize ones with high price sensitivity when demand is low but both types benefit from the practice when demand is high. This sheds some light on the impact of revenue management on the surplus of business and leisure passengers.

Keywords: dynamic computational models, intertemporal price discrimination, revenue management, transport fares

JEL Classification: C63, R41

Suggested Citation

Dupuis, Nicolas and Ivaldi, Marc and Pouyet, Jerome, A Welfare Assessment of Revenue Management Systems (February 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10385. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2559326

Nicolas Dupuis (Contact Author)

Toulouse School of Economics ( email )

Place Anatole-France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

Marc Ivaldi

Toulouse School of Economics ( email )

Manufacture des Tabacs
21 Allee de Brienne bat. F
Toulouse Cedex, F-31000
France
+33 5 61 12 8592 (Phone)
+33 5 61 12 8637 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Jerome Pouyet

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS) ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Peres
75007 Paris
France
+33 1 4458 2870 (Phone)
+33 1 4458 2880 (Fax)

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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