Asymmetry in retail gasoline and crude oil price movements in the United States: An application of hidden cointegration technique
There is a common belief that gasoline prices respond more quickly to crude oil price increases than decreases. Some economists and politicians believe that asymmetry in oil and gasoline price movements is the outcome of a non-competitive gasoline market requiring that governments take policy action to address "unfair pricing". There is no consensus as to the existence, or nature, of the asymmetric relationship between prices of gasoline and crude oil. Much of this literature specifies asymmetry in the speed of adjustment and short-run adjustment coefficients. In contrast, Granger and Yoon's [Granger, C.W. and Yoon, G. "Hidden Cointegration", University of California, San Diego, Department of Economics Working Paper, (2002).] Crouching Error Correction Model (CECM) identifies asymmetry of the cointegrating vectors between components (cumulative positive and negative changes) of the series. Applying the CECM to retail gasoline and crude oil prices for the U.S., we find that there is only evidence of cointegration between positive components of crude oil prices and negative components of gasoline prices. In contrast to the literature which attributes asymmetric price movements to market power of refiners, these findings suggest that gasoline prices -in the long run- are more influenced by the technological changes on the demand side than crude oil price movements on the supply side.
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