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Competition, regulation, and pricing behavior in the Spanish retail gasoline market

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  • Contín Pilart, Ignacio
  • Correljé, Aad F.
  • Palacios, María Blanca
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    Abstract

    The restructuring of the Spanish oil industry produced a highly concentrated oligopoly in the retail gasoline market. In June 1990 the Spanish government introduced a system of ceiling price regulation in order to ensure that "liberalization" was accompanied by adequate consumer protection. This paper examines the pricing behavior of the retail gasoline market using multivariate error correction models over the period January 1993 (abolishment of the state monopoly)-December 2004. The results suggest that gasoline retail prices respond symmetrically to increases and decreases in the spot price of gasoline. However, one the ceiling price regulation was abolished, the "collaboration" between the government and the major operators, Repsol-YPF and Cepsa-Elf in order to control the inflation rate results in a slower rate of increase (decrease) of gasoline retail prices when gasoline spot prices went up (went down) than elsewhere in the European Union. Finally, retail margins were by the end of our timing period of analysis, as in the first years after the abolishment of the state monopoly, well above the European ones.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Economía Aplicada III (Econometría y Estadística) in its series BILTOKI with number 2006-02.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ehu:biltok:200602

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    Postal: Dpto. de Econometría y Estadística, Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
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    Keywords: regulation; pricing behavior; competition; gasoline market;

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    References

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    1. Barry Reilly & Robert Witt, 1996. "Petrol Price Asymmetries Revisited," Surrey Energy Economics Centre (SEEC), School of Economics Discussion Papers (SEEDS) 89, Surrey Energy Economics Centre (SEEC), School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    2. Godby, R. & Stengos, T. & Wandsschneider, B., 1997. "Testing for Asymmetric Pricing in the Canadian Retail Gasoline Market," Working Papers 1997-4, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    3. Bettendorf, Leon & van der Geest, Stephanie A. & Varkevisser, Marco, 2003. "Price asymmetry in the Dutch retail gasoline market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 669-689, November.
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    5. Kirchgassner, Gebhard & Kubler, Knut, 1992. "Symmetric or asymmetric price adjustments in the oil market : An empirical analysis of the relations between international and domestic prices in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1972-1989," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 171-185, July.
    6. Lance J. Bachmeier & James M. Griffin, 2003. "New Evidence on Asymmetric Gasoline Price Responses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 772-776, August.
    7. Grasso, Margherita & Manera, Matteo, 2007. "Asymmetric error correction models for the oil-gasoline price relationship," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 156-177, January.
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    9. Nathan S. Balke & Stephen P. A. Brown & Mine Yücel, 1998. "Crude oil and gasoline prices: an asymmetric relationship?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q 1, pages 2-11.
    10. Borenstein, Severin & Cameron, A Colin & Gilbert, Richard, 1997. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 305-39, February.
    11. Severin Borenstein & Andrea Shepard, 2002. "Sticky Prices, Inventories, and Market Power in Wholesale Gasoline Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(1), pages 116-139, Spring.
    12. Bacon, Robert W., 1991. "Rockets and feathers: the asymmetric speed of adjustment of UK retail gasoline prices to cost changes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 211-218, July.
    13. Galeotti, Marzio & Lanza, Alessandro & Manera, Matteo, 2003. "Rockets and feathers revisited: an international comparison on European gasoline markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 175-190, March.
    14. Kaufmann, Robert K. & Laskowski, Cheryl, 2005. "Causes for an asymmetric relation between the price of crude oil and refined petroleum products," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1587-1596, August.
    15. Andrew Eckert, 2002. "Retail price cycles and response asymmetry," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(1), pages 52-77, February.
    16. 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.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bello, Alejandro & Cavero, Sandra, 2008. "The Spanish retail petroleum market: New patterns of competition since the liberalization of the industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 612-626, February.

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