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Quality overprovision in cable television markets


Crawford, Gregory S; Shcherbakov, Oleksandr; Shum, Matthew (2019). Quality overprovision in cable television markets. American Economic Review, 109(3):956-995.

Abstract

We measure the welfare distortions from endogenous quality choice in imperfectly competitive markets. For US cable television markets between 1997–2006, prices are 33 percent to 74 percent higher and qualities 23 percent to 55 percent higher than socially optimal. Such quality overprovision contradicts classic results in the literature and our analysis shows that it results from the presence of competition from high-end satellite TV providers: without the competitive pressure from satellite companies, cable TV monopolists would instead engage in quality degradation. For welfare, quality overprovision implies cable customers would prefer smaller, lower-quality cable bundles at a lower price, amounting to a twofold increase in consumer surplus for the average consumer.

Abstract

We measure the welfare distortions from endogenous quality choice in imperfectly competitive markets. For US cable television markets between 1997–2006, prices are 33 percent to 74 percent higher and qualities 23 percent to 55 percent higher than socially optimal. Such quality overprovision contradicts classic results in the literature and our analysis shows that it results from the presence of competition from high-end satellite TV providers: without the competitive pressure from satellite companies, cable TV monopolists would instead engage in quality degradation. For welfare, quality overprovision implies cable customers would prefer smaller, lower-quality cable bundles at a lower price, amounting to a twofold increase in consumer surplus for the average consumer.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Economics and Econometrics
Language:English
Date:1 March 2019
Deposited On:13 Sep 2019 10:46
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:45
Publisher:American Economic Association
ISSN:0002-8282
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.20151182

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