IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Inter-industry differences in profitability: the legacy of the structure-efficiency debate revisited

Listed author(s):
  • Chang-Yang Lee
  • Ishtiaq P. Mahmood

This study presents a simple model on the sources of inter-industry variation in profitability and tests its empirical implications in order to shed new light on the long-lasting debate over industry profitability. The model identifies four key factors that jointly influence an industry's price-cost margin: (i) the intensity of strategic investment (e.g. R&D and advertising), (ii) the skewness of the distribution of market share or market concentration, (iii) the appropriability of strategic investment, and (iv) the extent to which firms' market shares are determined by the intensity of their strategic investment. These factors are expected to be positively related to industry profitability, and our empirical analysis provides supportive evidence. The model also suggests that the conventional, single-dimensional hypotheses on profitability-the market-power (or market-structure) hypothesis and the efficiency hypothesis-are overly simplified. More importantly, existing empirical results allegedly supporting each of these hypotheses are spurious to the extent that the distribution of firm-specific strategic competence reflects firm heterogeneity in efficiency and, at the same time, underlies the distribution of market share or market concentration. Copyright 2009 , Oxford University Press.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Industrial and Corporate Change.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 351-380

in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:18:y:2009:i:3:p:351-380
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:18:y:2009:i:3:p:351-380. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.