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Markets: Ready-Mixed Concrete


  • Chad Syverson


Concrete's natural color is gray. Its favored uses are utilitarian. Its very ubiquity causes it to blend into the background. But ready-mix concrete does have one remarkable characteristic: other than manufactured ice, perhaps no other manufacturing industry faces greater transport barriers. The transportation problem arises because ready-mix concrete both has a low value-to-weight ratio and is highly perishable -- it absolutely must be discharged from the truck before it hardens. These transportation barriers mean ready-mixed concrete must be produced near its customers. For the same reason, foreign trade in ready-mixed concrete is essentially nonexistent. This article is an introduction to the basics of the market for ready-mix concrete, focusing mainly on its consumers and its producers in the United States, but with occasional comparisons to other countries when contrasts are useful.

Suggested Citation

  • Chad Syverson, 2008. "Markets: Ready-Mixed Concrete," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 217-234, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:1:p:217-234 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.1.217

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karen J. Horowitz & Mark A. Planting, 2006. "Concepts and Methods of the U.S. Input-Output Accounts," BEA Papers 0066, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    2. Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2007. "Cementing Relationships: Vertical Integration, Foreclosure, Productivity, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 250-301.
    3. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:21:y:1990:i:1990-3:p:205-286 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2006. "Demand Fluctuations and Plant Turnover in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," Working Papers 06-25, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    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. Allen, Bruce T, 1971. "Vertical Integration and Market Foreclosure: The Case of Cement and Concrete," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 251-274, April.
    7. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
    8. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    9. Johnson, Ronald N & Parkman, Allen M, 1987. "Spatial Competition and Vertical Integration; Cement and Concrete Revisited: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 750-753, September.
    10. Chad Syverson, 2007. "PRICES, SPATIAL COMPETITION AND HETEROGENEOUS PRODUCERS: AN EMPIRICAL TEST -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 197-222, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Busso Matias & Madrigal Lucia & Pagés Carmen, 2013. "Productivity and resource misallocation in Latin America," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-30, June.
    2. Hatfield, John William & Kominers, Scott Duke, 2015. "Multilateral matching," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 175-206.
    3. Michael Greenstone & John A. List & Chad Syverson, 2011. "The Effects of Environmental Regulation on the Competiveness of U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 11-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Don J. Webber & Michael Horswell, 2009. "Microeconomic foundations of geographical variations in labour productivity," Working Papers 0913, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    5. Robert Kulick, 2017. "Ready-to-Mix: Horizontal Mergers, Prices, and Productivity," Working Papers 17-38, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Jia-Bei Yu & Yang Yu & Lin-Na Wang & Ze Yuan & Xu Ji, 2016. "The knowledge modeling system of ready-mixed concrete enterprise and artificial intelligence with ANN-GA for manufacturing production," Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 905-914, August.
    7. Schiersch Alexander & Schmidt-Ehmcke Jens, 2011. "Is the Boone-Indicator Applicable? – Evidence from a Combined Data Set of German Manufacturing Enterprises," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 231(3), pages 336-357, June.

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