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05/01/2006 07:00:00

Watson Lecture: Puzzling Prices

PASADENA, Calif.- Ever wonder why gas prices can vary by 15ยข --or more-- over a two-mile drive, or why an airline will change the cost of fares 500,000 times per day? Curious about what determines prices in the first place?

R. Preston McAfee of the California Institute of Technology has examined these mysteries, and provides an explanation: a concept called "price discrimination," which essentially means charging each customer what the market can bear.

On Wednesday, May 3, McAfee, J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Business Economics and Management and executive officer for the social sciences, will delve into the oddities of business pricing using examples from IBM, airlines, and more, in his talk, "Why Are Prices So Bizarre?" It is the third program of the winter/spring 2006 Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series.

The talk will take place at 8 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium, 332 S. Michigan Avenue south of Del Mar Boulevard, on the Caltech campus in Pasadena. Seating is available on a free, no-ticket-required, first-come, first-served basis. Caltech has offered the Watson Lecture Series since 1922, when it was conceived by the late Caltech physicist Earnest Watson as a way to explain science to the local community.

For more information, call 1(888) 2CALTECH (1-888-222-5832) or (626) 395-4652.


Contact: Kathy Svitil (626) 395-8022

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Written by Kathy Svitil