Exploitative Priority Service

Eyal Winter (Lancaster University;The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

September 8, 2020, 17:00–18:30


Room Zoom

Economic Theory Seminar


We analyze the implications of introducing priority service on customerswelfare. In monopoly markets, introducing priority service decreases the customers surplus despite increasing the assignment e¢ ciency: the monopolist extracts from customers a total payment higher than the total e¢ ciency gain generated by the service and hence leaves customers worse o¤ compared with the situation where no priority is o¤ered at all. In duopoly markets with homogeneous customers the equilibrium price and customerswelfare coincide with the monopoly outcome where this monopolist faces half of the market. With heterogeneous customers as well priority reduces the aggregated consumerswelfare. Our conclusion is that priority service erects barriers to competition that are embedded in the nature of the service provided, with the victims of these barriers primarily being agents with low willingness or low ability to pay for the priority.