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Markups and Measurement Errors in Six EU Countries

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Author Info

  • Forsman, Pentti

    ()
    (Bank of Finland)

  • Saarenheimo, Tuomas

    ()
    (Bank of Finland)

  • Terviö, Marko

    ()
    (Bank of Finland, Aalto University School of Economics)

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    Abstract

    This study of markups, ie prices over marginal costs in manufacturing industries, builds on the work of Robert Hall and Werner Roeger. We analyze several methods used in estimating sectoral markups, and then apply them to empirical analysis of the industrial sectors of six EU countries (Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Sweden and Finland). We argue that measurement errors in the model variables, particularly in the rental price of capital, are likely to be a major problem in markup estimation, and show that due to measurement errors, the approach developed by Roeger is likely to produce markup estimates with an upward bias. Such biased results are particularly deceiving since the outcome tends to produce artificially good fits, high t-values, and markup estimates which are "sensible" in magnitude. We also introduce a "modified" model for markup estimation, which would, if all assumptions were fulfilled and variables correctly measured, yield results identical to those obtained with Roeger's model. Yet, in contrast to Roeger's model, in the presence of measurement errors the markup estimates produced by this model have downward bias. Comparison of these two sets of estimates enables us to assess the seriousness of the measurement problem. We found that the estimates produced by the two models differed in a systematic fashion which is symptomatic of measurement errors. All in all, our results provide strong support for our hypothesis that the markup estimates obtained with Roeger's method are likely to be artifacts created by measurement errors mainly in the rental price of capital.

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    File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/julkaisut/tutkimukset/keskustelualoitteet/Documents/DP_30_1996.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 30/1996.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: 20 Dec 1996
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:1996_030

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
    Web page: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: markup; imperfect competition;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 2115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Susanto Basu, 1994. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 4817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Roeger, Werner, 1995. "Can Imperfect Competition Explain the Difference between Primal and Dual Productivity Measures? Estimates for U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 316-30, April.
    6. Norrbin, Stefan C, 1993. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry: A Contradiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1149-64, December.
    7. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
    8. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
    9. Bresnahan, Timothy F., 1989. "Empirical studies of industries with market power," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 1011-1057 Elsevier.
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