Organizational Structure and Pricing: Evidence from a Large U.S. Airline
Firms often involve multiple departments for critical decisions that may result in coordination failures. Using data from a large U.S. airline, we document the presence of important pricing biases that differ significantly from dynamically optimal profit maximization. However, these biases can be rationalized as a “second-best” after accounting for department decision rights. We show that assuming prices are generated through profit maximization biases demand estimates and that second-best prices can persist, even under improvements to pricing algorithm inputs. Our results suggest caution in abstracting from organizational structure and drawing inferences from firms’ pricing decisions alone.