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Output Price and Markup Dispersion in Micro Data: The Roles of Producer Heterogeneity and Noise

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  • Mark J. Roberts
  • Dylan Supina

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on the extent of producer heterogeneity in the output market by analyzing output price and price-marginal cost markups at the plant level for thirteen homogenous manufactured goods. It relies on micro data from the U.S. Census of Manufactures over the 1963-1987 period. The amount of price heterogeneity varies substantially across products. Over time, plant transition patterns indicate more persistence in the pricing of individual plants than would be generated by purely random movements. High-price and low-price plants remain in the same part of the price distribution with high frequency, suggesting that underlying time-invariant structural factors contribute to the price dispersion. For all but two products, large producers have lower output prices. Marginal cost and the markups are estimated for each plant. The markup remains unchanged or increases with plant size for all but four of the products and declining marginal costs play an important role in generating this pattern. The lower production costs for large producers are, at least partially, passed on to purchasers as lower output prices. Plants with the highest and lowest markups tend to remain so over time, although overall the persistence in markups is less than for output price, suggesting a larger role for idiosyncratic shocks in generating markup variation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6075.

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Date of creation: Jun 1997
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Publication status: published as Advances in Applied Microeconomics, Vol. 9, Industrial Organization, Baye, Michael, ed., JAI Publishers, 2000.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6075

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Cited by:
  1. Vaona, Andrea & Snower, Dennis, 2008. "Increasing returns to scale and the long-run Phillips curve," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 83-86, July.
  2. Priit Vahter, 2010. "Does Fdi Spur Innovation, Productivity And Knowledge Sourcing By Incumbent Firms? Evidence From Manufacturing Industry In Estonia," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 69, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
  3. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  4. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
  6. 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.
  7. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2006. "Information, Search, and Price Dispersion," Working Papers 2006-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  8. Volker Grossmann, 2003. "Managerial Job Assignment and Imperfect Competition in Asymmetric Equilibrium," CESifo Working Paper Series 914, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Stephen Martin & Paola Valbonesi, 2006. "The State Aid Game," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0024, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  10. Márcio I. Nakane & Sérgio Mikio Koyama, 2003. "Search Costs and the Dispersion of Loan Interest Rates in Brazil," Anais do XXXI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 31th Brazilian Economics Meeting] d28, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  11. Nicoletta Batini & Brian Jackson & Stephen Nickell, 2002. "The Pricing Behaviour of UK Firms," Discussion Papers 09, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.

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