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Price Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing

  • Thomas A Abbott Iii
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    This paper addresses the question of whether products in the U.S. Manufacturing sector sell at a single (common) price, or whether prices vary across producers. The question of price dispersion is important for two reasons. First, if prices vary across producers, the standard method of using industry price deflators leads to errors in measuring real output at the firm or establishment level. These errors in turn lead to biased estimates of the production function and productivity growth equation as shown in Abbott (1988). Second, if prices vary across producers, it suggests that producers do not take prices as given but use price as a competitive variable. This has several implications for how economists model competitive behavior.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/1989/CES-WP-89-07.pdf
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    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 89-7.

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    Date of creation: Oct 1989
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    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:89-7
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    1. Isard, Peter, 1977. "How Far Can We Push the "Law of One Price"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 942-48, December.
    2. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Dahlby, Bev & West, Douglas S, 1986. "Price Dispersion in an Automobile Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 418-38, April.
    4. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
    5. Pratt, John W & Wise, David A & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. "Price Differences in Almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211, May.
    6. Carlton, Dennis W, 1979. "Contracts, Price Rigidity, and Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 1034-62, October.
    7. Perloff, Jeffrey M & Salop, Steven C, 1986. "Firm-Specific Information, Product Differentiation, and Industry Equilibrium," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(0), pages 184-202, Suppl. No.
    8. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
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