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Costs, Demand, and Imperfect Competition as Determinants of Plant_level Output Prices

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  • Timothy Dunne
  • Mark J Roberts

Abstract

The empirical modeling of imperfectly competitive markets has been constrained by the difficulty of obtaining micro data on individual producer prices, outputs, and costs. In this paper we utilize micro data collected from the 1977 Census of Manufactures to study the determinants of plant-level output prices among U.S. bread producers. A theoretical model of short-run price competition among plants producing differentiated products is used to specify reduced-form equations for each plant's price and output. Estimates of the reduced-form equations indicate that the main determinants of both the plant's output level and output price are the plant's own cost variables, particularly its capital stock and the prices of material inputs. The number of rival producers faced by the plant, the production costs of these rivals, and the demand conditions faced by the plant play no role in price or output determination. The results are not consistent with either oligopolistic competition or monopoly behavior, but rather are consistent with price-taking behavior by individual producers combined with output quality differentials across producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Dunne & Mark J Roberts, 1992. "Costs, Demand, and Imperfect Competition as Determinants of Plant_level Output Prices," Working Papers 92-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:92-5
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1992/CES-WP-92-05.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:clu:wpaper:0708-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Maurice Kugler & Eric Verhoogen, 2012. "Prices, Plant Size, and Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 307-339.
    3. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
    4. Dobbelaere, Sabien & Kiyota, Kozo & Mairesse, Jacques, 2015. "Product and labor market imperfections and scale economies: Micro-evidence on France, Japan and the Netherlands," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 290-322.
    5. Mark J Roberts & Dylan Supina, 1997. "Output Price And Markup Dispersion In Micro Data: The Roles Of Producer And Heterogeneity And Noise," Working Papers 97-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:12:y:2006:i:6:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Mark J. Roberts & Dylan Supina, 1997. "Output Price and Markup Dispersion in Micro Data: The Roles of Producer Heterogeneity and Noise," NBER Working Papers 6075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Douglas W Dwyer, 1995. "Whittling Away At Productivity Dispersion," Working Papers 95-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Dhar, Tirtha Pratim & Cotterill, Ronald W., 2002. "Price Transmission in Differentiated Product Market Channels: A Study of the Boston Fluid Milk Market and the North East Dairy Compact," Research Reports 25174, University of Connecticut, Food Marketing Policy Center.

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

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