Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Consumer Search: An Examination of the Retail Gasoline Market

Contents:

Author Info

  • Lewis, Matt

Abstract

It has been documented that retail gasoline prices respond more quickly to increases in wholesale price than to decreases. However, there is very little theoretical or empirical evidence identifying the market characteristics responsible for this behavior. This paper presents a new theoretical model of asymmetric adjustment that empirically matches observed retail gasoline price behavior better than previously suggested explanations. I develop a “reference price†consumer search model that assumes consumers’ expectations of prices are based on prices observed during previous purchases. The model predicts that consumers search less when prices are falling. This reduced search results in higher profit margins and a slower price response to cost changes than when margins are low and prices are increasing. Following the predictions of the theory, I use a panel of gas station prices to estimate the response pattern of prices to a change in costs. Unlike previous empirical studies I focus on how profit margins (in addition to the direction of the cost change) affect the speed of price response. Estimates are consistent with the predictions of the reference price search model, and appear to contradict previously suggested explanations of asymmetric adjustment.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/9pv2d9fn.pdf;origin=repeccitec
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series with number qt9pv2d9fn.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt9pv2d9fn

Contact details of provider:
Postal: F502 Haas, Berkeley CA 94720-1922
Phone: (510) 642-1922
Fax: (510) 642-5018
Email:
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/iber_cpc/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Asymmetric; Consumer Search; Gasoline; Price; Asymmetric Adjustment; Cointegration; Error Correction; Dynamic; Response;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1994. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 247-61, March.
  2. Salop, Steven & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510, October.
  3. Hastings, Justine, 2000. "Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: An Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt0bw767hm, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Stock, James H, 1987. "Asymptotic Properties of Least Squares Estimators of Cointegrating Vectors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 1035-56, September.
  5. Sam Peltzman, 1998. "Prices Rise Faster Than They Fall," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 142, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  6. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
  7. Benabou, Roland & Gertner, Robert, 1993. "Search with Learning from Prices: Does Increased Inflationary Uncertainty Lead to Higher Markups?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 69-94, January.
  8. Severin Borenstein & A. Colin Cameron, 1992. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," NBER Working Papers 4138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daniel S. Putler, 1992. "Incorporating Reference Price Effects into a Theory of Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(3), pages 287-309.
  10. Enders, Walter & Granger, C. W. J., 1998. "Unit Root Tests and Asymmetric Adjustment with an Example Using the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Staff General Research Papers 1388, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Andrew Eckert, 2002. "Retail price cycles and response asymmetry," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(1), pages 52-77, February.
  12. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
  13. James M. O'Brien, 2000. "Estimating the value and interest rate risk of interest-bearing transactions deposits," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Ronald Johnson, 2002. "Search Costs, Lags and Prices at the Pump," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 33-50, February.
  15. Jeffrey D. Karrenbrock, 1991. "The behavior of retail gasoline prices: symmetric or not?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 19-29.
  16. Kiviet, Jan F, 1986. "On the Rigour of Some Misspecification Tests for Modelling Dynamic Relationships," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 241-61, April.
  17. Rob, Rafael, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504, July.
  18. Duffy-Deno, Kevin T., 1996. "Retail price asymmetries in local gasoline markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 81-92, April.
  19. Gurumurthy Kalyanaram & Russell S. Winer, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations from Reference Price Research," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages G161-G169.
  20. Barry K. Goodwin & Matthew T. Holt, 1999. "Price Transmission and Asymmetric Adjustment in the U.S. Beef Sector," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(3), pages 630-637.
  21. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 689-711, July/Aug..
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt9pv2d9fn. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.