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Average-cost pricing: Some evidence and implications

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  • Altomonte, Carlo
  • Barattieri, Alessandro
  • Basu, Susanto

Abstract

We present new survey evidence on pricing behavior for more than 14,000 European firms, and study its macroeconomic implications. Among firms that are price setters, roughly 75% respond that their prices are set as a markup on total costs, a business practice termed “full cost pricing”. Only 25% set prices as markups over variable or marginal costs. Moreover, using industry data for the U.S., we find that the correlation between changes in output prices and changes in variable input prices is significantly lower when fixed costs are likely to be more important.

Suggested Citation

  • Altomonte, Carlo & Barattieri, Alessandro & Basu, Susanto, 2015. "Average-cost pricing: Some evidence and implications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 281-296.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:79:y:2015:i:c:p:281-296
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2015.08.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
    3. Day, Richard H & Aigner, Dennis J & Smith, Kenneth R, 1971. "Safety Margins and Profit Maximization in the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(6), pages 1293-1301, Nov.-Dec..
    4. Kimball, Miles S., 1989. "The effect of demand uncertainty on a precommitted monopoly price," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-5.
    5. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
    6. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 593-624.
    7. Philippe Mongin, 1992. "The “Full-Cost” Controversy of the 1940s and 1950s: A Methodological Assessment," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 311-356, Summer.
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    9. Koichiro Ito, 2014. "Do Consumers Respond to Marginal or Average Price? Evidence from Nonlinear Electricity Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 537-563, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paweł Gajewski & Grzegorz Tchorek, 2017. "What drives export performance of firms in Eastern and Western Poland?," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(12), pages 2250-2271, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marginalist controversy; Full cost pricing; Amplification mechanisms;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics

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