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Endogenous Price Commitment, Sticky and Leadership Pricing: Evidence from the Italian Petrol Market

  • Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick
  • Franck, Jens-Uwe

This article studies dynamic pricing strategies in the Italian gasoline market before and after the market leader unilaterally announced its commitment to adopt a sticky-pricing policy. Using daily Italian firm level prices and weekly average EU prices, we show that the effect of the new policy was twofold. First, it facilitated price alignment and coordination on price changes. After the policy change, the observed pricing pattern shifted from cost-based to sticky-leadership pricing. Second, using a dif-in-dif estimation and a synthetic control group, we show that the causal effect of the new policy was to significantly increase prices through sticky-leadership pricing. Our paper highlights the importance of price-commitment by a large firm in order to sustain (tacit) collusion.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 16182.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:16182
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  1. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," Working papers 99-17, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Korbinian von Blanckenburg & Alexander Geist & Konstantin A. Kholodilin, 2010. "The Influence of Collusion on Price Changes: New Evidence from Major Cartel Cases," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1004, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2001. "Price ceilings as focal points for tacit collusion: evidence from credit cards," Working Paper Series WP-01-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Lewis, Matthew S., 2012. "Price leadership and coordination in retail gasoline markets with price cycles," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 342-351.
  5. Kyle Bagwell, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000081, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Fonseca, Miguel A. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Explicit vs. tacit collusion—The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1759-1772.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:20100112 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Eckert, Andrew, 2003. "Retail price cycles and the presence of small firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 151-170, February.
  9. Lance J. Bachmeier & James M. Griffin, 2003. "New Evidence on Asymmetric Gasoline Price Responses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 772-776, August.
  10. Marshall, Robert C. & Marx, Leslie M. & Raiff, Matthew E., 2008. "Cartel price announcements: The vitamins industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 762-802, May.
  11. Imbens, Guido W. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 3640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. John Connor, 2005. "Collusion and price dispersion," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(6), pages 335-338.
  13. 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.
  14. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1990. "Collusive Price Leadership," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 93-111, September.
  15. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell, 2004. "Collusion with Persistent Cost Shocks," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000334, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Christie, William G & Schultz, Paul H, 1994. " Why Do NASDAQ Market Makers Avoid Odd-Eighth Quotes?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1813-40, December.
  17. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
  18. Michael D. Noel, 2007. "Edgeworth Price Cycles, Cost-Based Pricing, and Sticky Pricing in Retail Gasoline Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 324-334, May.
  19. Abrantes-Metz, Rosa M. & Froeb, Luke M. & Geweke, John & Taylor, Christopher T., 2006. "A variance screen for collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 467-486, May.
  20. Bolotova, Yuliya V., 2009. "Cartel overcharges: An empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 321-341, May.
  21. Robert H. Porter & J. Douglas Zona, 1999. "Ohio School Milk Markets: An Analysis of Bidding," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 263-288, Summer.
  22. Mouraviev, Igor & Rey, Patrick, 2011. "Collusion and leadership," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 705-717.
  23. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, II: Price Competition, Kinked Demand Curves, and Edgeworth Cycles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 571-99, May.
  24. Zhongmin Wang, 2009. "(Mixed) Strategy in Oligopoly Pricing: Evidence from Gasoline Price Cycles Before and Under a Timing Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 987-1030, December.
  25. Mariano Tappata, 2009. "Rockets and feathers: Understanding asymmetric pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 673-687.
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