IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/jemstr/v20y2011i2p409-449.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

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

Author

Listed:
  • Matthew S. Lewis

Abstract

This article proposes a new explanation for why retail prices respond more quickly to cost increases than cost decreases. I develop a search model that assumes consumers’ expectations of prices are based on prices observed during previous purchases. This model predicts that consumers search less when prices are falling, which results in higher profit margins and a slower price response to cost changes. I then empirically examine patterns of retail gasoline price response and price dispersion to show that this model predicts observed price behavior better than previously suggested explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew S. Lewis, 2011. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Consumer Search: An Examination of the Retail Gasoline Market," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 409-449, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:20:y:2011:i:2:p:409-449
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-9134.2011.00293.x
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-9134.2011.00293.x
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1111/j.1530-9134.2011.00293.x?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    2. 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.
    3. John Haltiwanger & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1991. "The Impact of Cyclical Demand Movements on Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 89-106, Spring.
    4. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1994. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 247-261, March.
    5. Goodwin, Barry K. & Harper, Daniel C., 2000. "Price Transmission, Threshold Behavior, And Asymmetric Adjustment In The U.S. Pork Sector," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1-11, December.
    6. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
    7. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
    8. Michael D. Noel, 2007. "Edgeworth Price Cycles, Cost-Based Pricing, and Sticky Pricing in Retail Gasoline Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 324-334, May.
    9. Roland Bénabou & Robert Gertner, 1993. "Search with Learning from Prices: Does Increased Inflationary Uncertainty Lead to Higher Markups?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 69-93.
    10. Huanxing Yang & Lixin Ye, 2008. "Search with learning: understanding asymmetric price adjustments," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 547-564, June.
    11. Justine S. Hastings, 2004. "Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 317-328, March.
    12. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    13. Rafael Rob, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504.
    14. Gurumurthy Kalyanaram & Russell S. Winer, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations from Reference Price Research," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 161-169.
    15. Michael Rothschild, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown: A Summary," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 1, pages 293-294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. George Deltas, 2008. "Retail Gasoline Price Dynamics And Local Market Power," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 613-628, September.
    17. Enders, Walter & Granger, Clive W J, 1998. "Unit-Root Tests and Asymmetric Adjustment with an Example Using the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(3), pages 304-311, July.
    18. Barron, John M. & Taylor, Beck A. & Umbeck, John R., 2004. "Number of sellers, average prices, and price dispersion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1041-1066, November.
    19. 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.
    20. Jan F. Kiviet, 1986. "On the Rigour of Some Misspecification Tests for Modelling Dynamic Relationships," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(2), pages 241-261.
    21. Mariano Tappata, 2009. "Rockets and feathers: Understanding asymmetric pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 673-687, December.
    22. 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..
    23. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
    24. Duffy-Deno, Kevin T., 1996. "Retail price asymmetries in local gasoline markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 81-92, April.
    25. Jeremy A. Verlinda, 2008. "Do Rockets Rise Faster And Feathers Fall Slower In An Atmosphere Of Local Market Power? Evidence From The Retail Gasoline Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 581-612, September.
    26. Matthew Lewis, 2008. "Price Dispersion And Competition With Differentiated Sellers," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 654-678, September.
    27. Sam Peltzman, 2000. "Prices Rise Faster than They Fall," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 466-502, June.
    28. Ronald Johnson, 2002. "Search Costs, Lags and Prices at the Pump," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 20(1), pages 33-50, February.
    29. 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.
    30. Hosken, Daniel S. & McMillan, Robert S. & Taylor, Christopher T., 2008. "Retail gasoline pricing: What do we know?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1425-1436, November.
    31. Daniel S. Putler, 1992. "Incorporating Reference Price Effects into a Theory of Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(3), pages 287-309.
    32. Severin Borenstein & A. Colin Cameron & Richard Gilbert, 1997. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 305-339.
    33. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2006. "Information, Search, and Price Dispersion," Working Papers 2006-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    34. 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.).
    35. Andrew Eckert, 2002. "Retail price cycles and response asymmetry," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(1), pages 52-77, February.
    36. Stock, James H, 1987. "Asymptotic Properties of Least Squares Estimators of Cointegrating Vectors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 1035-1056, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mariano Tappata, 2009. "Rockets and feathers: Understanding asymmetric pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 673-687, December.
    2. Woo-Hyung Hong & Daeyong Lee, 2020. "Asymmetric pricing dynamics with market power: investigating island data of the retail gasoline market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(5), pages 2181-2221, May.
    3. Deltas, George & Polemis, Michael, 2020. "Estimating retail gasoline price dynamics: The effects of sample characteristics and research design," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    4. Noel, Michael D. & Qiang, Hongjie, 2019. "The role of information in retail gasoline price dispersion," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 173-187.
    5. Huanxing Yang & Lixin Ye, 2008. "Search with learning: understanding asymmetric price adjustments," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 547-564, June.
    6. Joshua Sherman & Avi Weiss, 2015. "Price Response, Asymmetric Information and Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 2077-2115, December.
    7. Polemis, Michael L. & Fotis, Panagiotis N., 2014. "The taxation effect on gasoline price asymmetry nexus: Evidence from both sides of the Atlantic," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 225-233.
    8. Sylvain Benoît & Yannick Lucotte & Sébastien Ringuedé, 2019. "Competition and price stickiness: Evidence from the French retail gasoline market," Working Papers hal-02292332, HAL.
    9. Jens‐Peter Loy & Dieter Pennerstorfer & Daniela Rroshi & Christoph Weiss & Biliana Yontcheva, 2022. "Consumer Information and Price Transmission: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 631-683, September.
    10. Kristoufek, Ladislav & Lunackova, Petra, 2015. "Rockets and feathers meet Joseph: Reinvestigating the oil–gasoline asymmetry on the international markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-8.
    11. Ederington, Louis H. & Fernando, Chitru S. & Hoelscher, Seth A. & Lee, Thomas K. & Linn, Scott C., 2019. "A review of the evidence on the relation between crude oil prices and petroleum product prices," Journal of Commodity Markets, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 1-15.
    12. Matthew Chesnes, 2016. "Asymmetric Pass-Through in U.S. Gasoline Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    13. Remer, Marc, 2015. "An empirical investigation of the determinants of asymmetric pricing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 46-56.
    14. Jordi Perdiguero-García, 2010. "“Symmetric or asymmetric gasoline prices? A metaanalysis approach”," IREA Working Papers 201013, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Nov 2010.
    15. Rahman, Mohammad Chhiddikur, 2020. "Welfare Impact of Asymmetric Price Transmission on Bangladesh Rice Consumers," EconStor Theses, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 242248.
    16. Perdiguero-García, Jordi, 2013. "Symmetric or asymmetric oil prices? A meta-analysis approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 389-397.
    17. repec:dgr:rugsom:14027-eef is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Pal, Debdatta & Mitra, Subrata K., 2016. "Asymmetric oil product pricing in India: Evidence from a multiple threshold nonlinear ARDL model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 314-328.
    19. Riemer P. Faber, 2009. "Asymmetric Price Responses of Gasoline Stations: Evidence for Heterogeneity of Retailers," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-106/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    20. Bruzikas, Tadas & Soetevent, Adriaan, 2014. "Detailed data and changes in market structure," Research Report 14027-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    21. Bayer, Ralph-C & Ke, Changxia, 2018. "What causes rockets and feathers? An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 223-237.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:20:y:2011:i:2:p:409-449. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/ .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/ .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.