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Consumer Search in Retail Gasoline Markets

Author

Listed:
  • David P. Byrne

    (University of Melbourne)

  • Nicolas de Roos

    (University of Sydney)

Abstract

This paper develops novel direct tests for search behavior in retail gasoline markets. We exploit a unique market-level dataset that allows us to directly measure search intensity with daily web traffic data from a gasoline price reporting website and perfectly measure daily changes in price levels and dispersion. Our simple yet powerful tests provide strong evidence of both cross-sectional and intertemporal price search behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • David P. Byrne & Nicolas de Roos, 2015. "Consumer Search in Retail Gasoline Markets," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1197, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1197
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    File URL: http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1434523/1197DavidByrnesearch_paper4.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David P. Byrne, & Gordon Leslie, 2013. "How do Co nsumers Respond to Gasoline," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1176, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Matthew S. Lewis & Howard P. Marvel, 2011. "When Do Consumers Search?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 457-483, September.
    3. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2011. "Fair Pricing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 952-981, October.
    4. Matthew S. Lewis, 2011. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Consumer Search: An Examination of the Retail Gasoline Market," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 409-449, June.
    5. Michael D. Noel, 2007. "Edgeworth Price Cycles: Evidence From The Toronto Retail Gasoline Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 69-92, March.
    6. Sam Peltzman, 2000. "Prices Rise Faster than They Fall," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 466-502, June.
    7. Babur De Los Santos & Ali Hortacsu & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "Testing Models of Consumer Search Using Data on Web Browsing and Purchasing Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2955-2980, October.
    8. Martin Pesendorfer, 2002. "Retail Sales: A Study of Pricing Behavior in Supermarkets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(1), pages 33-66, January.
    9. Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2002. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 481-507, June.
    10. Øystein Foros & Frode Steen, 2013. "Vertical Control and Price Cycles in Gasoline Retailing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(3), pages 640-661, July.
    11. 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.
    12. Tülin Erdem & Susumu Imai & Michael Keane, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 5-64, March.
    13. Andrew Eckert, 2013. "Empirical Studies Of Gasoline Retailing: A Guide To The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 140-166, February.
    14. Nicolas de Roos & Hajime Katayama, 2013. "Gasoline Price Cycles Under Discrete Time Pricing," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(285), pages 175-193, June.
    15. Ambarish Chandra & Mariano Tappata, 2011. "Consumer search and dynamic price dispersion: an application to gasoline markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(4), pages 681-704, December.
    16. 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.
    17. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elliott, Robert & Sun, Puyang & Zhu, Tong, 2020. "Shell shocked: The impact of foreign entry on the gasoline retail market in China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    2. David P Byrne & Jia Sheen Nah & Peng Xue, 2018. "Australia Has the World's Best Petrol Price Data: FuelWatch and FuelCheck," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 51(4), pages 564-577, December.
    3. Øystein Foros & Mai Nguyen-Ones & Frode Steen, 2021. "The Effects of a Day off from Retail Price Competition: Evidence on Consumer Behavior and Firm Performance in Gasoline Retailing," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 49-87, January.
    4. Horvath, Marco, 2019. "Germany's market transparency unit for fuels: Fostering collusion or competition?," Ruhr Economic Papers 836, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Jens-Peter Loy & Dieter Pennerstorfer & Daniela Rroshi & Christoph Weiss & Biliana Yontcheva, 2019. "Consumer Information and Price Transmission: Empirical Evidence," Economics working papers 2019-20, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    6. Frondel, Manuel & Horvath, Marco & Vance, Colin & Kihm, Alexander, 2019. "Increased market transparency in Germany's gasoline market: What about rockets and feathers?," Ruhr Economic Papers 810, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Oczkowski, Edward & Wong, Alfred & Sharma, Kishor, 2018. "The impact of major fuel retailers on regional New South Wales petrol prices," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 44-59.
    8. Sven Heim, 2021. "Asymmetric cost pass-through and consumer search: empirical evidence from online platforms," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 227-260, June.
    9. Pessoa, João Paulo & Rezende, Leonardo & Assunção, Juliano, 2019. "Flex cars and competition in fuel retail markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 145-184.
    10. Noel, Michael D. & Qiang, Hongjie, 2019. "The role of information in retail gasoline price dispersion," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 173-187.
    11. Michael D. Noel, 2019. "Calendar synchronization of gasoline price increases," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 355-370, April.
    12. Gugler, Klaus & Heim, Sven & Janssen, Maarten & Liebensteiner, Mario, 2018. "Market Liberalization: Price Dispersion, Price Discrimination and Consumer Search in the German Electricity Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 13197, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Felix Montag & Alina Sagimuldina & Monika Schnitzer, 2021. "Does Tax Policy Work When Consumers Have Imperfect Price Information? Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 9138, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    search; price dispersion; retail gasoline;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • L8 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services

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    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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