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A Spatial Econometric Analysis of the Effect of Vertical Restraints and Branding on Retail Gasoline Pricing

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen Hogg
  • Stan Hurn

    (QUT)

  • Stuart McDonald
  • Alicia Rambaldi

Abstract

This paper builds an econometric model of retail gas competition to explain the pricing decisions of retail outlets in terms of vertical management structures, input costs and the characteristics of the local market they operate within. The model is estimated using price data from retail outlets from the South-Eastern Queensland region in Australia, but the generic nature of the model means that the results will be of general interest. The results indicate that when the cost of crude oil and demographic variations across different localities are accounted for, branding (i.e. whether the retail outlet is affiliated with one of the major brand distributers - Shell, Caltex, Mobil or BP) has a statistically significant positive effect on prices at nearby retail outlets. Conversely, the presence of an independent (non-branded) retailer within a locality has the effect of lowering retail prices. Furthermore, the results of this research show that service stations participating in discount coupon schemes with the two major retail supermarket chains have the effect of largely off-setting the price increase derived from branding affiliation. While, branding effects are not fully cancelled out, the overall effect is that prices are still higher than if branding did not occur.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Hogg & Stan Hurn & Stuart McDonald & Alicia Rambaldi, 2012. "A Spatial Econometric Analysis of the Effect of Vertical Restraints and Branding on Retail Gasoline Pricing," NCER Working Paper Series 86, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:auncer:2012_9
    as

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    File URL: http://www.ncer.edu.au/papers/documents/WP86.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Justine S. Hastings, 2004. "Vertical Relationships and Competition in Retail Gasoline Markets: Empirical Evidence from Contract Changes in Southern California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 317-328, March.
    2. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349.
    3. Motta,Massimo, 2004. "Competition Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016919, May.
    4. Dieter Pennerstorfer, 2009. "Spatial price competition in retail gasoline markets: evidence from Austria," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 43(1), pages 133-158, March.
    5. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
    6. Gerhard Clemenz & Klaus Gugler, 2006. "Locational choice and price competition: some empirical results for the austrian retail gasoline market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 291-312, June.
    7. Beard, T Randolph & Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 2001. "Regulation, Vertical Integration and Sabotage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 319-333, September.
    8. T. Randolph Beard & David L. Kaserman & John W. Mayo, 2001. "Regulation, Vertical Integration and Sabotage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 319-333, September.
    9. Joshua S. Gans & Stephen P. King, 2004. "Supermarkets and Shopper Dockets: The Australian Experience," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(3), pages 311-316, September.
    10. McAfee, R Preston & Schwartz, Marius, 1994. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 210-230, March.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bergantino, Angela Stefania & Capozza, Claudia & Intini, Mario, 2018. "Empirical investigation of retail gasoline prices," Working Papers 18_5, SIET Società Italiana di Economia dei Trasporti e della Logistica.
    2. Bergantino, Angela S. & Capozza, Claudia & Intini, Mario, 2020. "Empirical investigation of retail fuel pricing: The impact of spatial interaction, competition and territorial factors," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    3. Alderighi, Marco & Baudino, Marco, 2015. "The pricing behavior of Italian gas stations: Some evidence from the Cuneo retail fuel market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 33-46.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Retail Gasoline Pricing; Vertical Restraints; Shop-a-Docket Discount Scheme; Spatial Econometrics; Australia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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