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Zone pricing in wholesale gasoline markets is a contentious topic in the public policy debate. With a controlled laboratory experiment, we investigate the competitive effects of zone pricing on consumers, retail stations, and refiners vis-à-vis the proposed policy prescription of uniform wholesale pricing to retailers. We also examine the issue of divorcement and the “rockets and feathers” phenomenon. The former is the legal restriction that refiners and retailers cannot be vertically integrated, and the latter is the perception that retail gasoline prices rise faster than they fall in response to random walk movements in the world price for oil.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, volume 67, issue 1, in 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2006.11.004

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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