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Markups and Firm-level Exports

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  • Frederic Warzynski

    (Arhus University)

  • Jan De Loecker

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Estimating markups has a long tradition in industrial organization and international trade. Economists and policy makers are interested in measuring the effect of various competition and trade policies on market power, typically measured by markups. The empirical methods that were developed in empirical industrial organization often rely on the availability of very detailed market-level data with information on prices, quantities sold, characteristics of products and more recently supplemented with consumer-level attributes. Often, both researchers and government agencies cannot rely on such detailed data, but still need an assessment of whether changes in the operating environment of firms had an impact on markups and therefore on consumer surplus. In this paper, we derive an estimating equation to estimate markups using standard production plant-level data based on the insight of Hall (1986) and the control function approach of Olley and Pakes (1996). Our methodology allows for various underlying price setting models, dynamic inputs, and does not require measuring the user cost of capital or assuming constant returns to scale. We rely on our method to explore the relationship between markups and export behavior using plant-level data. We find that i) markups are estimated significantly higher when controlling for unobserved productivity, ii) exporters charge on average higher markups and iii) firms' markups increase (decrease) upon export entry (exit).We see these findings as a first step in opening up the productivity-export black box, and provide a potential explanation for the big measured productivity premia for firms entering export markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2010 Meeting Papers with number 438.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:438

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  1. Klette, T.J., 1998. "Market Power, Scale Economies and Productivity: Estimates from a Panel of Establishment Data," Memorandum, Oslo University, Department of Economics 15/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. Levinsohn, J., 1991. "Testing the Imports-As-Market-Discipline Hypothesis," Working Papers, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan 272, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  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. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  5. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Norrbin, S.C., 1993. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry: A Contradiction," Working Papers, Department of Economics, Florida State University 1993_05_04, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  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. Holger Görg & Frederic Warzynski, 2003. "Price Cost Margins and Exporting Behaviour: Evidence from Firm Level Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 365, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  11. Kugler, M., Verhoogen, E.A., 2008. "Product Quality at the Plant Level: Plant Size, Exports, Output Prices and Input Prices in Colombia," Working Papers, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics eg0058, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2008.
  12. Klette, T.J., 1992. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators when Output Prices are unobserved and Endogenous," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1586, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  14. Juan Carlos Hallak & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2010. "Firms' Exporting Behavior under Quality Constraints," Working Papers 99, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Mar 2010.
  15. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  16. Laszlo Halpern & Miklos Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2006. "Imports and Productivity," 2006 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 796, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. 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.
  18. Konings, Jozef & Van Cayseele, Patrick & Warzynski, Frederic, 2003. "The Effect of Privatization and Competitive Pressure on Firms' Price-Cost Margins: Micro Evidence from Emerging Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Waldmann, Robert J, 1991. "Implausible Results or Implausible Data? Anomalies in the Construction of Value-Added Data and Implications for Estimates of Price-Cost Markups," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1315-28, December.
  20. Haijime Katayama & Shihua Lu & James Tybout, 2003. "Why Plant-Level Productivity Studies are Often Misleading, and an Alternative Approach to Interference," NBER Working Papers 9617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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