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Price-Cost Margins and Shares of Fixed Factors

Author

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  • Konings, Jozef
  • Roeger, Werner
  • Zhao, Liqiu

Abstract

Reduced form approaches to estimate markups typically exploit variation in observed input and output. However, these approaches ignore the presence of fixed input factors, which may result in an overestimation of the price-cost margins. We first propose a new methodology to simultaneously estimate price-cost margins and the shares of fixed inputs. We then use Belgian firm level data for manufacturing and service sectors to show that markups are lower when taking into account fixed input factors. We find that the average price-cost margin of manufacturing firms is 0.041, compared to 0.090 when we do not control for fixed costs of production. We also show that price-cost margins increase with the share of fixed costs in turnover. Our findings provide new insights about observed high price-cost margins in service industries. In particular, we show that once fixed costs are taken into account, price-cost margins in service industries are comparable to those in manufacturing.

Suggested Citation

  • Konings, Jozef & Roeger, Werner & Zhao, Liqiu, 2011. "Price-Cost Margins and Shares of Fixed Factors," CEPR Discussion Papers 8290, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8290
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-2471, October.
    2. Rebekka Christopoulou & Philip Vermeulen, 2012. "Markups in the Euro area and the US over the period 1981–2004: a comparison of 50 sectors," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 53-77.
    3. Bresnahan, Timothy F., 1981. "Departures from marginal-cost pricing in the American automobile industry : Estimates for 1977-1978," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 201-227, November.
    4. Oliver Budzinski & Isabel Ruhmer, 2010. "Merger Simulation In Competition Policy: A Survey," Journal of Competition Law and Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 277-319.
    5. Siotis, Georges, 2003. "Competitive pressure and economic integration: an illustration for Spain, 1983-1996," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1435-1459, December.
    6. Jozef Konings & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2004. "Antidumping Protection and Markups of Domestic Firms: Evidence from Firm Level Data," LICOS Discussion Papers 14104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    7. Harald Badinger, 2007. "Has the EU's Single Market Programme Fostered Competition? Testing for a Decrease in Mark-up Ratios in EU Industries," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(4), pages 497-519, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fixed input costs; price-cost margins; Solow residual;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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