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Edgeworth Price Cycles and intertemporal price discrimination

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  • Noel, Michael D.

Abstract

In a retail gasoline market exhibiting Edgeworth Price Cycles, prices change asymmetrically with many small decreases interrupted by occasional large increases. The result is a de facto menu of prices from which consumers can choose based on exactly when they buy. This article introduces four classes of purchase timing strategies designed to systematically shift consumer purchases towards the cycle troughs. It shows in the study market of Toronto, Canada, the monetary gains to consumers from optimized timing strategies are as high as 3.9%. Markups earned from these consumers fall up to 82%. In spite of the gains from timing strategies, surprisingly few consumers use them. Evidence is presented that a main reason is that consumers are not well informed about the cycles. Policy implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Noel, Michael D., 2012. "Edgeworth Price Cycles and intertemporal price discrimination," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 942-954.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:4:p:942-954
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2011.05.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David P. Byrne, Gordon W. Leslie, and Roger Ware, 2015. "How do Consumers Respond to Gasoline Price Cycles?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    2. Foros, Øystein & Nguyen, Mai Thi & Steen, Frode, 2017. "The Effects of a Day Off from Retail Price Competition: Evidence on Consumer Behavior and Firm Performance in Gasoline Retailing," Discussion Papers 2017/9, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    3. Noel, Michael D., 2015. "Do Edgeworth price cycles lead to higher or lower prices?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 81-93.
    4. Paul Zimmerman & John Yun & Christopher Taylor, 2013. "Edgeworth Price Cycles in Gasoline: Evidence from the United States," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 42(3), pages 297-320, May.
    5. Dewenter, Ralf & Linder, Melissa & Schwalbe, Ulrich, 2017. "Preiszyklen im Kraftstoffmarkt - Wettbewerb oder Kollusives Verhalten?," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168246, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Obradovits, Martin, 2014. "Austrian-style gasoline price regulation: How it may backfire," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 33-45.
    7. Noel, Michael D. & Chu, Lanlan, 2015. "Forecasting gasoline prices in the presence of Edgeworth Price Cycles," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 204-214.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dynamic pricing; Retail gasoline; Rockets and feathers; Toronto; Asymmetry; Collusion;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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