Market structure and price adjustment in the U.S. wholesale gasoline markets
The issue of sticky prices in U.S. wholesale gasoline market is re-examined allowing for the effect of market structure due to increased market concentration caused by mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures which started in the late 1990s in the U.S. oil industry. I investigate the effects of market structure on the pattern of price adjustment based on the notion that increased market concentration leads to downward price stickiness and asymmetric short run price adjustment in the transmission of crude price changes to wholesale gasoline price. I find that market concentration has an insignificant asymmetric effect on the speed of price adjustment but a significant asymmetric effect on short run price adjustments in the response of wholesale gasoline prices to crude price shocks in three U.S. wholesale markets. Furthermore, the signs on the coefficients of market concentration effects on price dynamics in the models support the assertion that increased market concentration leads to downward price stickiness in only one of the three markets examined. Overall, the results indicate that market structure does not have a strong effect on the dynamics of price adjustment.
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