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Competitive Pressure in Transition: A Role for Trade and Competition Policies?

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Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of trade reforms and antitrust enforcement on the pricing behavior of firms, shedding light on the respective contributions of these policy instruments to the shaping of competitive markets. To this end, we use a rich panel data set of more than 25,000 manufacturing firms from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, spanning a five-year period. We find a positive and statistically significant relationship between domestic firms' mark-ups and industry protection, as reflected in MFN and trade-weighted import tariffs. The toughness of competition policy enforcement, captured by the number of final instance decisions delivered by national antitrust authorities and an index developed by the EBRD, has a negative impact of greater magnitude than tariff protection. We also test for the significance of enacting major legislative amendments with regard to competition policy in the studied countries, as well as for differential effects in export-oriented and import-competing industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 06-2006.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 29 Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp06-2006

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Keywords: Competition policy; Mark-up; Import penetration; Transitional economies;

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  1. Konings, Jozef & Van Cayseele, Patrick & Warzynski, Frédéric, 2003. "The Effects of Privatization and Competitive Pressure on Firms’ Price-Cost Margins: Micro Evidence from Emerging Economies," Working Papers 03-17, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Dobrinsky, Rumen & Korosi, Gabor & Markov, Nikolay & Halpern, Laszlo, 2006. "Price markups and returns to scale in imperfect markets: Bulgaria and Hungary," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 92-110, March.
  3. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
  4. Jozef Konings & Patrick Van Cayseele & Frederic Warzynski, 1999. "The Dynamics of Industrial Markups in Two Small Open Economies: Does National Competition Policy Matter ?," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces9914, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  5. Rumen Dobrinsky & Gábor Korösi & Nikolay Markov & László Halpern, 2004. "Firms’ Price Markups and Returns to Scale in Imperfect Markets: Bulgaria and Hungary," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-710, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Kee, Hiau Looi & Hoekman, Bernard, 2007. "Imports, entry and competition law as market disciplines," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 831-858, May.
  7. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
  8. Levinsohn, James, 1993. "Testing the imports-as-market-discipline hypothesis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 1-22, August.
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  10. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish, 1998. "Trade liberalization, market discipline and productivity growth: new evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 447-462, August.
  11. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  12. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  13. Bottasso, Anna & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2001. "Market power, productivity and the EU Single Market Program: Evidence from a panel of Italian firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 167-186, January.
  14. Djankov, Simeon & Hoekman, Bernard, 1997. "Competition Law in Post-Central Planning Bulgaria," CEPR Discussion Papers 1723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Dutz, Mark A. & Vagliasindi, Maria, 2000. "Competition policy implementation in transition economies: An empirical assessment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 762-772, May.
  16. Norrbin, S.C., 1993. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry: A Contradiction," Working Papers 1993_05_04, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  17. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Stefano Scarpetta & Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Mark-Up Ratios in Manufacturing Industries: Estimates for 14 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 162, OECD Publishing.
  18. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 2002. "Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 963-991, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Asaftei, Gabriel & Parmeter, Christopher F., 2010. "Market power, EU integration and privatization: The case of Romania," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 340-356, September.

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