Domestic Airline Alliances and Consumer Welfare
45 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2005
Date Written: July 2007
This paper investigates the consumer welfare consequences of the recent code-share agreement between Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines. We develop a discrete choice model based on individual flight characteristics. This structural model recognizes that consumers i) may have heterogeneous preferences for flight attributes, and ii) may face different prices for the same flight. The empirical methodology also deals with the measurement error problem stemming from the absence of consumer level data on prices. The estimation results suggest that, while the code-share agreement did not impact consumers significantly on average, it increased the average surplus of connecting passengers, but it decreased the average surplus of nonstop passengers. Interestingly, the magnitude of our welfare results may be attributed in large part to changes in products characteristics other than prices.
Keywords: Discrete Choice; Consumer Welfare; Structural Estimation
JEL Classification: D12, D60, C51, C15, L93
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