Discriminatory Product Differentiation: The Case of Israel's Omission from Airline Route Maps

49 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2017 Last revised: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Paul M. Vaaler

Paul M. Vaaler

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Law School and Carlson School of Management

Joel Waldfogel

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 14, 2019

Abstract

We ask whether international firms compete by designing products attractive to customers because they are objectionable to others. We investigate “discriminatory product differentiation” among international airlines through depictions of Israel on online route maps and availability of kosher meal options on online inflight menus. Analyses of data for 112 airlines indicate that Israel’s map omission and omission of kosher meal options increase for airlines with customers from countries exhibiting higher rates of anti-Semitism and airlines with state owners not recognizing Israel. Neither omission matters for membership in major alliances. Such discrimination may be objectionable, but its subtlety permits industry globalization.

Keywords: customer discrimination, product differentiation, airlines, alliances

JEL Classification: J15, L88, L93, M16, D74

Suggested Citation

Vaaler, Paul M. and Waldfogel, Joel, Discriminatory Product Differentiation: The Case of Israel's Omission from Airline Route Maps (May 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2912489 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2912489

Paul M. Vaaler (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Law School and Carlson School of Management ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
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612-625-4951 (Phone)
612-626-1316 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/faculty/paul-vaaler

Joel Waldfogel

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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