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Common Knowledge Reference Price and Asymmetric Price Adjustments

Evidence from the Retail Gasoline Market in Colombia


There is abundant empirical evidence showing that asymmetric price adjustments exist in a wide variety of markets. Prices tend to rise faster when costs rise, relative to the rate at which prices drop when costs fall. This paper argues that a common knowledge reference price—a government suggested retail price—eases the existence of asymmetric price adjustments in a scenario where costs are ever-increasing. Our analysis of the Colombian retail gasoline market suggests that when costs rise by more than the reference price, prices tend to rise more slowly relative to when costs grow by less than the reference price.

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Correspondence to Jorge Tovar.

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A previous version of the paper circulated under the title “Asymmetric price adjustments under ever-increasing costs: Evidence from the Retail Gasoline Market in Colombia”.

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Hofstetter, M., Tovar, J. Common Knowledge Reference Price and Asymmetric Price Adjustments. Rev Ind Organ 37, 141–159 (2010).

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