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The Competitive Impact of Hypermarket Retailers on Gasoline Prices

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  • Paul R. Zimmerman

Abstract

Hypermarkets are large retail suppliers of general merchandise or grocery items that also sell gasoline, often at very low margins. This paper estimates the impact of hypermarkets on average state-level retail gasoline prices and margins. The empirical results indicate an economically and statistically significant price-decreasing effect of increased hypermarket competition. The estimations also suggest that refiners lower the delivered wholesale prices charged to their affiliated lessee-dealer and open-dealer stations in response to increased hypermarket competition, which in turn translates to lower retail (street) prices. The adoption of sales-below-cost laws may lessen the price-reducing effects from hypermarket competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul R. Zimmerman, 2012. "The Competitive Impact of Hypermarket Retailers on Gasoline Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 27-41.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/661194
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Alm & Edward Sennoga & Mark Skidmore, 2009. "Perfect Competition, Urbanization, And Tax Incidence In The Retail Gasoline Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 118-134, January.
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    5. Skidmore, Mark & Peltier, James & Alm, James, 2005. "Do state motor fuel sales-below-cost laws lower prices?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 189-211, January.
    6. Loreto Lira & Rosario Rivero & Rodrigo Vergara, 2007. "Entry and Prices: Evidence from the Supermarket Sector," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 31(4), pages 237-260, December.
    7. Rod Anderson & Ronald Johnson, 1999. "Antitrust and Sales-Below-Cost Laws: The Case of Retail Gasoline," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 14(3), pages 189-204, May.
    8. Evans, William N & Froeb, Luke M & Werden, Gregory J, 1993. "Endogeneity in the Concentration-Price Relationship: Causes, Consequences, and Cures," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 431-438, December.
    9. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Nauges, Celine & Thomas, Alban, 2008. "Clean Air regulation and heterogeneity in US gasoline prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 106-122, January.
    10. Vita, Michael G, 2000. "Regulatory Restrictions on Vertical Integration and Control: The Competitive Impact of Gasoline Divorcement Policies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 217-233, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Franck, Jens-Uwe, 2013. "Actions Speak Louder than Words: Econometric Evidence to Target Tacit Collusion in Oligopolistic Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 16179, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. 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).
    3. repec:cai:ecoldc:ecop_210_0001 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gius, Mark, 2013. "Regulatory restrictions and energy: The impact of the Jones Act on spot gasoline prices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1058-1063.
    5. Erwan Gautier & Ronan Le Saout, 2017. "L’ajustement microéconomique des prix des carburants en France," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(1), pages 1-24.

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