“One more lie: the ‘Monday effect’ in Spain’s retail petrol market”
Empirical evidence drawn from the economic literature points to a low level of competition in the retail petrol market. Similar evidence can be found for the Spanish market. In fact, both Spain’s antitrust authority (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia) and its energy regulator (Comisión Nacional de la Energía) have recently initiated disciplinary proceedings against the majors on the grounds of suspected price manipulation in the retail petrol market. They are accused of cutting retail prices on Mondays so as to distort the rank position of Spain in European Union statistics in a practice that has received the name of the ‘Monday effect’. Here, we analyze this effect by constructing a database that includes daily retail prices for all petrol stations in Spain in the period 2009-2012, and a more detailed database for the city of Barcelona in 2013. Our estimations confirm that: i) in 2011 and 2012 prices fell on Mondays at retailers branded by majors; ii) prices were unchanged at stations in our two control groups; iii) prices were also seen to fall when a more detailed analysis was conducted, and this price cut was also found in 2013. In short, one more indicator of collusion in this sector and … one more lie.
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