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Answer to Question #76782 in Microeconomics for Sejol

Question #76782
Another explanation for why queues may exist is so restaurants can practise price discrimination, which is sometimes illegal. By restricting the quantity supplied, the owner can adopt ‘behind the counter’ or ‘not on the books’ policies that give priority seating and special bookings to customers who are willing to pay more. In addition, because these payments are not on the records the owner does not pay taxes on them.

a) With the help of an appropriate graph (for simplicity, assume the seller is a monopoly), show how a firm can profit by restricting the quantity it sells (while keeping the legal price the same), while practising price discrimination with a subset of consumers.
Expert's answer
a) Price discrimination is a microeconomic pricing strategy where identical or largely similar goods or services are transacted at different prices by the same provider in different markets. Price discrimination is distinguished from product differentiation by the more substantial difference in production cost for the differently priced products involved in the latter strategy. Price differentiation essentially relies on the variation in the customers' willingness to pay and in the elasticity of their demand.
The purpose of price discrimination is generally to capture the market's consumer surplus. This surplus arises because, in a market with a single clearing price, some customers (the very low price elasticity segment) would have been prepared to pay more than the single market price. Price discrimination transfers some of this surplus from the consumer to the producer/marketer. Strictly, a consumer surplus need not exist, for example where some below-cost selling is beneficial due to fixed costs or economies of scale. An example is a high-speed internet connection shared by two consumers in a single building; if one is willing to pay less than half the cost, and the other willing to make up the rest but not to pay the entire cost, then price discrimination is necessary for the purchase to take place.

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