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Price-Response Asymmetry and Spatial Differentiation in Local Retail Gasoline Markets

  • Jeremy A. Verlinda

    (Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice)

Registered author(s):

    This study explores the possibility that local market power influences the observed asymmetric relationship between changes in wholesale gasoline costs and changes in retail gasoline prices. I exploit an original data set of weekly gas station prices in Southern California from September 2002 to May 2003, and take advantage of detailed station and local market level characteristics to determine the extent to which spatial differentiation influences price response asymmetry. I find that brand identity, proximity to rival stations, bundling and advertising, operation type, and local market features and demographics each influence a station's predicted price-response asymmetry.

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    File URL: http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/eag/221243.pdf
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    Paper provided by Department of Justice, Antitrust Division in its series EAG Discussions Papers with number 200704.

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    Length: 59 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:doj:eagpap:200704
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Justice Antitrust Division 450 Fifth Street NW Washington, DC 20530
    Web page: http://www.justice.gov/atr/
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    1. Nathan S. Balke & Stephen P. A. Brown & Mine Yücel, 1998. "Crude oil and gasoline prices: an asymmetric relationship?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q 1, pages 2-11.
    2. Barron, John M. & Umbeck, John R. & Waddell, Glen R., 2008. "Consumer and competitor reactions: Evidence from a field experiment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 517-531, March.
    3. Hackner, Jonas, 1996. "Optimal symmetric punishments in a Bertrand differentiated products duopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 611-630, July.
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    5. Borenstein, Severin & Cameron, A Colin & Gilbert, Richard, 1997. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 305-39, February.
    6. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
    7. Severin Boreinstein & Andrea Shepard, 1996. "Dynamic Pricing in Retail Gasoline Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 429-451, Autumn.
    8. Hackner, Jonas, 1995. "Endogenous product design in an infinitely repeated game," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 277-299.
    9. Matt Lewis, 2004. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Consumer Search: An Examination of the Retail Gasoline Market," Industrial Organization 0407010, EconWPA.
    10. Severin Borenstein & Andrea Shepard, 1996. "Sticky Prices, Inventories, and Market Power in Wholesale Gasoline Markets," Working Papers _001, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
    11. Chang, Myong-Hun, 1992. "Intertemporal Product Choice and Its Effects on Collusive Firm Behavior," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(4), pages 773-93, November.
    12. Sayaka Nakamura & Cory Capps & David Dranove, 2007. "Patient Admission Patterns and Acquisitions of "Feeder" Hospitals," EAG Discussions Papers 200701, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
    13. Chang, Myong-Hun, 1991. "The effects of product differentiation on collusive pricing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 453-469, September.
    14. Duffy-Deno, Kevin T., 1996. "Retail price asymmetries in local gasoline markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 81-92, April.
    15. John Haltiwanger & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1991. "The Impact of Cyclical Demand Movements on Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(1), pages 89-106, Spring.
    16. Severin Borenstein, 1991. "Selling Costs and Switching Costs: Explaining Retail Gasoline Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 354-369, Autumn.
    17. Hastings, Justine, 2000. "Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: An Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt0bw767hm, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    18. Shepard, Andrea, 1991. "Price Discrimination and Retail Configuration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 30-53, February.
    19. Dahl, Carol & Sterner, Thomas, 1991. "Analysing gasoline demand elasticities: a survey," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 203-210, July.
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