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Grubb, Michael D. and Osborne, Matthew: Cellular Service Demand: Biased Beliefs, Learning, and Bill Shock [Preview]
Following FCC pressure to end bill-shock, cellular carriers now alert customers when they exceed usage allowances. We estimate a model of plan choice, usage, and learning using a 2002–2004 panel of cellular bills. Accounting for firm price adjustment, we predict that implementing alerts in 2002-2004 would have lowered average annual consumer welfare by $33. We show that consumers are inattentive to past usage, meaning that bill-shock alerts are informative. Additionally, our estimates imply that consumers are overconfident, underestimating the variance of future calling. Overconfidence costs consumers $76 annually at 2002–2004 prices. Absent overconfidence, alerts would have little to no effect.



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