Joining Longer Queues: Information Externalities in Queue Choice

  • Veeraraghavan S
  • Debo L
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Abstract

A classic example that illustrates how observed customer behavior impacts other customers' decisions is the selection of a restaurant whose quality is uncertain. Customers often choose the busier restaurant, inferring that other customers in that restaurant know something that they do not. In an environment with random arrival and service times, customer behavior is reflected in the lengths of the queues that form at the individual servers. Therefore, queue lengths could signal two factors—potentially higher arrivals to the server or potentially slower service at the server. In this paper, we focus on both the factors when customers' waiting costs are negligible. This allows us to understand how information externalities due to congestion impact customers' service choice behavior.

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Authors

  • Senthil Veeraraghavan

  • Laurens Debo

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