Coglianese, John Davis, Lucas W. Kilian, Lutz Stock, James H.
Year of Publication:
CESifo Working Paper 5764
Least-squares estimates of the response of gasoline consumption to a change in the gasoline price are biased toward zero, given the endogeneity of gasoline prices. A seemingly natural solution to this problem is to instrument for gasoline prices using gasoline taxes, but this approach tends to yield implausibly large price elasticities. We demonstrate that anticipatory behavior provides an important explanation for this result. Gasoline buyers increase purchases before tax increases and delay purchases before tax decreases, rendering the tax instrument endogenous. Including suitable leads and lags in the regression restores the validity of the IV estimator, resulting in much lower elasticity estimates.
IV price elasticity of demand gasoline anticipation intertemporal substitution storage