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Price Controls and Market Structure: Evidence from Gasoline Retail Markets

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  • Juan Esteban Carranza
  • Robert Clark
  • Jean-François Houde

Abstract

type="main"> In this paper we study the effect of price floor regulations on the organization and performance of markets. The standard interpretation of the effects of these policies is concerned with short-run market distortions associated with excess supply. Since price controls prevent markets from clearing, they lead to higher prices. While this analysis may be correct in the short-run, it does not consider the dynamic equilibrium consequences of price controls. We demonstrate that price floor regulations can have important long-run effects on the the structure of markets by crowding them and creating endogenous barriers to entry for low-cost retailers. Moreover, we show that these factors can indirectly lower productivity and possibly even prices. We test this in the context of an actual regulation imposed in the retail gasoline market in the Canadian province of Québec and show that the policy led to more competition between smaller/less efficient stations. This resulted in lowered sales, and, despite the reduction in efficiency, did not increase prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Esteban Carranza & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2015. "Price Controls and Market Structure: Evidence from Gasoline Retail Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 152-198, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:63:y:2015:i:1:p:152-198
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/joie.12071
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aen:journl:ej38-6-hauca is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Noriaki Matsushima & Akira Miyaoka, 2013. "Who benefits from resale-below-cost laws?," ISER Discussion Paper 0875, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    3. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Siekmann, Manuel, 2016. "Selling gasoline as a by-product: The impact of market structure on local prices," DICE Discussion Papers 240, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. repec:kap:regeco:v:53:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11149-017-9349-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nikolic, Adriana & Weiss, Christoph, 2014. "Spatial interactions in location decisions: Empirical evidence from a Bayesian spatial probit model," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 4245, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    6. Justus Haucap & Ulrich Heimeshoff & Manuel Siekmann, 2017. "Fuel Prices and Station Heterogeneity on Retail Gasoline Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 6).
    7. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Siekmann, Manuel, 2015. "Price dispersion and station heterogeneity on German retail gasoline markets," DICE Discussion Papers 171, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    8. Andrew Eckert & Heather Eckert, 2014. "Regional Patterns in Gasoline Station Rationalization in Canada," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 99-122, March.
    9. Adriaan R. Soetevent & Tadas Bruzikas, 2017. "The Impact of Process Innovation on Prices: Evidence from Automated Fuel Retailing in The Netherlands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-045/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Fotis, Panagiotis & Polemis, Michael, 2018. "The impact of market deregulation on milk price: A dynamic panel data approach," MPRA Paper 86542, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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