Who Are You Calling Irrational? Marginal Costs, Variable Costs, and the Pricing Practices of Firms
AbstractEconomists sometimes decry the persistence with which firms set prices above marginal cost and thus, according to the economists, fail to maximize profits. But it is the economists who have it wrong – first, because variable accounting costs are not always a good proxy for marginal economic costs, but more importantly because in an industry with U-shaped cost curves, a firm at a long-run sustainable equilibrium faces increasing marginal costs – i.e., a rising shadow price on some constrained input – i.e., in general, acost of capital. A corollary is that in such an industry the equilibrium mark-up over variable cost varies directly with capital intensity.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Justice, Antitrust Division in its series EAG Discussions Papers with number 200903.
Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
market power; price; mark-up; marginal cost; variable cost;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
- D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
- D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
- K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
- L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
- L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-05-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2010-05-22 (Business Economics)
- NEP-COM-2010-05-22 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-IND-2010-05-22 (Industrial Organization)
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