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Does Responsive Pricing Smooth Demand Shocks?

Authors

Abstract

Using data from a unique pricing experiment, we investigate Vickrey’s conjecture that responsive pricing can be used to smooth both predictable and unpredictable demand shocks. Our evidence shows that increasing the responsiveness of price to demand conditions reduces the magnitude of deviations in capacity utilization rates from a pre-determined target level. A 10 percent increase in price variability leads to a decrease in the variability of capacity utilization rates between 2 and 6 percent. We discuss implications for the use of demand-side incentives to deal with congestible resources.

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