Conspiracy at the Pump
On the basis of evidence of price-fixing, in May 2006 the Canadian Competition Bureau targeted retail gasoline outlets in some local markets in the province of Quebec. In June 2008, criminal charges were filed against many individuals and companies operating in those local markets. We employ a differences-in-differences approach to determine whether the public announcement of the antitrust investigation triggered a reaction in one of the targeted markets. We find that the price of gasoline in the targeted market fell by 1.75 cents per liter after the public announcement of the investigation. We also briefly discuss how well the Stiglerian theory of collusion performs in this real-world conspiracy. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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