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Edgeworth Cycles Revisited

  • Joseph J. Doyle, Jr.
  • Erich Muehlegger
  • Krislert Samphantharak

Some gasoline markets exhibit remarkable price cycles, where price spikes are followed by a string of small price declines until the next price spike. This pattern is predicted from a model of competition driven by Edgeworth cycles, as described by Maskin and Tirole. We extend the Maskin and Tirole model and empirically test its predictions with a new dataset of daily station-level prices in 115 US cities. One innovation is that we also examine cycling within cities, which allows controls for city fixed effects. Consistent with the theory, and often in contrast with previous empirical work, we find that the least and most concentrated markets are much less likely to exhibit cycling behavior; and the areas with more independent retailers that have convenience stores are more likely to cycle. We also find that the average gasoline prices are relatively unrelated to cycling behavior.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14162.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14162.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Publication status: published as Doyle, Joseph & Muehlegger, Erich & Samphantharak, Krislert, 2010. "Edgeworth cycles revisited," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 651-660, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14162
Note: EEE IO
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  1. Michael D. Noel, 2007. "EDGEWORTH PRICE CYCLES: EVIDENCE FROM THE TORONTO RETAIL GASOLINE MARKET -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 69-92, 03.
  2. Andrea Shepard, 1993. "Contractual Form, Retail Price, and Asset Characteristics in Gasoline Retailing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 58-77, Spring.
  3. Severin Borenstein & A. Colin Cameron, 1992. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," NBER Working Papers 4138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. J. Isaac Brannon, 2003. "The effects of resale price maintenance laws on petrol prices and station attrition: empirical evidence from Wisconsin," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 343-349.
  5. 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.
  6. George Deltas, 2008. "RETAIL GASOLINE PRICE DYNAMICS AND LOCAL MARKET POWER -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 613-628, 09.
  7. 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.
  8. Michael D. Noel, 2008. "Edgeworth Price Cycles and Focal Prices: Computational Dynamic Markov Equilibria," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 345-377, 06.
  9. Slade, Margaret E, 1998. "Strategic Motives for Vertical Separation: Evidence from Retail Gasoline Markets," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 84-113, April.
  10. 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.
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