This paper examines the variation in performance of incumbents and entrants following the deregulation of prices and entry in the airline industry. Our approach is similar to earlier studies of interfirm performance heterogeneity across industries. Drawing on theories of industry evolution, we hypothesize that the performance of entrants will have higher variance than incumbents. Further, given the opportunities offered by price deregulation, we propose that incumbents will have higher variance in performance under deregulation than in the earlier regime. The findings indicate that entrant performance heterogeneity is significantly greater than incumbent performance heterogeneity following deregulation, but that the variation in performance among incumbents does not significantly change when deregulation occurs. The second result is surprising given the range of service and process innovations that incumbents initiated. These results suggest that the distinction between entrants and incumbents is critical to future studies of performance variation within and across industries.
- Entrant behavior
- Firm heterogeneity