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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.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.22.1.217
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 217-234

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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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  1. 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.
  2. Hart, O. & Tirole, J., 1990. "Vertical Integration And Market Foreclosure," Working papers 548, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Chad Syverson, 2001. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Working Papers 01-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. 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.
  5. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2006. "Cementing Relationships: Vertical Integration, Foreclosure, Productivity, and Prices," Working Papers 06-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  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 251-74, April.
  7. Karen J. Horowitz & Mark A. Planting, 2006. "Concepts and Methods of the U.S. Input-Output Accounts," BEA Papers 0066, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  8. 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 750-53, September.
  9. 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, 06.
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