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Price Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing

Author

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  • Thomas A Abbott Iii

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A Abbott Iii, 1989. "Price Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 89-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:89-7
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1989/CES-WP-89-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
    3. John W. Pratt & David A. Wise & Richard Zeckhauser, 1979. "Price Differences in almost Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 189-211.
    4. 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 418-438, April.
    5. Carlton, Dennis W, 1979. "Contracts, Price Rigidity, and Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 1034-1062, October.
    6. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    7. Isard, Peter, 1977. "How Far Can We Push the "Law of One Price"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 942-948, December.
    8. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sang V Nguyen & Robert H Mcguckin, 1993. "On Productivity and Plant Ownership Change: New Evidence From the LRD," Working Papers 93-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Mariano Tommasi, 1992. "Inflation and Relative Prices Evidence from Argentina," UCLA Economics Working Papers 661, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Sang V Nguyen & Robert H Mcguckin, 1995. "Exploring The Role Of Acquisition In The Performance Of Firms: Is The "Firm" The Right Unit Of Analysis?," Working Papers 95-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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