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Las Estaciones de Servicios en Chile: ¿Compiten o se Coluden?

The competitiveness of the oil, and particularly the gasoline, industry is a subject frequently discussed in Chile and throughout the world. It has inspired an important empirical and theoretical work, especially regarding the role of franchises and the type of contracts that optimize the distribution network. The literature shows that many of the contractual mechanisms used are usually erroneously confused with anti-competitive strategies. This paper analyzes the problem a company has to solve in designing its distribution network, and it reveals that changes that have taken place in Chile in recent years have modified the characteristics of the optimal contract. It concludes that the optimal contract today includes a higher degree of vertical integration than what was considered adequate a few decades ago.