Essays on Consumer Choice and Public Policy
This dissertation consists of three chapters on consumer choice and public policy. The first chapter re-evaluates the realized efficacy of increasing block pricing (IBP). IBP is expected to give a positive social benefit, this assumes that consumers are attentive to the marginal price, which is questioned by recent literature. This paper measures the welfare loss from inattentiveness to the marginal price, which is defined as the misperception effect. By comparing IBP’s efficacy and the misperception effect, the net benefit of using an IBP schedule is revealed. This study starts by identifying consumers’ perceived marginal price. Using this perceived price, the demand curve can be estimated. After that, each consumer’s and firm’s surplus change are calculated. The second chapter studies the impact of snowfall on airport operation and suggests a comprehensive benefit and cost analysis on airport investment. Using two advanced econometric method, the Triple Difference model and the Nearest Neighbor Matching, this study first develops a Delay Analysis model to evaluate the exact effect of snowfall delay and secondly conducts the Net Present Value analysis on the Heated Pavement System (HPS). Delays by snows estimated up to about 9 minutes for airports in the Boston area, and HPS is feasible for airports with a great number of flights and passengers, such as Boston Logan airport. The third chapter explores the expected result of investment in runway, which could, in turn, reduce snow-related delays and cancellations. Three airports in the Boston area are selected since the geographical proximity would lead to intense competition once they are privatized. Each airport’s arrival and departure itinerary data is used for assessment and identification of cost and benefit conditions to achieve this investment. For the analysis, this study constructs a two-stage game model of airports and airlines and follows the subgame perfect equilibrium. Backward induction and simulation for the different scenario are used for analysis. The equilibrium conditions show that private competition between profit maximization airports can stimulate large investment in a heated runway.