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Competition among Spatially Differentiated Firms: An Estimator with an Application to Cement

  • Matthew J Osborne
  • Nathan H. Miller

    (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

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    We develop an estimator for models of competition among spatially differentiated firms. In contrast to existing methods (e.g., Houde (2009)), the estimator has flexible data requirements and is implementable with data that are observed at any level of aggregation. Further, the estimator is the first to be applicable to models in which firms price discriminate among consumers based on location. We apply the estimator to the portland cement industry in the U.S. Southwest over 1983-2003. We estimate transportation costs to be $0.30 per tonne-mile and show that, given the topology of the U.S. Southwest, these transportation costs permit more geographically isolated plants to discriminate among consumers. We conduct a counterfactual experiment and determine that disallowing this spatial price discrimination would increase consumer surplus by $12 million annually, relative to a volume of commerce of $1.3 billion. Heretofore it has not been possible examine the surplus implications of spatial price discrimination in specific, real-world settings; these implications have been known to be ambiguous theoretically since at least Gronberg and Meyer (1982) and Katz (1984). Additionally, our methodology can be used to construct transportation margins, which are an important component of input-output tables.

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    File URL: http://www.bea.gov/papers/pdf/notes_on_estimating_the_multi_year_rpps_and_appendix_tables.pdf
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    Paper provided by Bureau of Economic Analysis in its series BEA Working Papers with number 0072.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:bea:wpaper:0072
    Contact details of provider: Phone: 202-482-4883
    Web page: http://www.bea.gov/research/index.htm
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    1. Chen, Yi Vivian & Heston, Alan & Lipsey, Robert, 2000. "International and interarea comparisons of income, output and prices," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 363-364, December.
    2. Stephen Malpezzi & Gregory H. Chun & Richard K. Green, 1998. "New Place-to-Place Housing Price Indexes for U.S. Metropolitan Areas, and Their Determinants," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 235-274.
    3. G. Sirmans & Lynn MacDonald & David Macpherson & Emily Zietz, 2006. "The Value of Housing Characteristics: A Meta Analysis," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 215-240, November.
    4. Feenstra, Robert C. & Ma, Hong & Rao, D. S. Prasada, 2009. "Consistent Comparisons Of Real Incomes Across Time And Space," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(S2), pages 169-193, September.
    5. Nicholas Oulton, 2007. "Chain indices of the cost of living and the path-dependence problem: an empirical solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19718, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Heston, Alan & Nakamura, Alice O., 2009. "Questions about the equivalence of market rents and user costs for owner occupied housing," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 273-279, September.
    7. D. S. Prasada Rao, 2005. "On The Equivalence Of Weighted Country-Product-Dummy (Cpd) Method And The Rao-System For Multilateral Price Comparisons," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 571-580, December.
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