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Competitive Pressure in Transition: A Role for Trade and Competition Policies?

This paper investigates the effects of trade reforms and antitrust enforcement on the pricing behavior of firms, shedding light on the respective contributions of these policy instruments to the shaping of competitive markets. To this end, we use a rich panel data set of more than 25,000 manufacturing firms from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, spanning a five-year period. We find a positive and statistically significant relationship between domestic firms' mark-ups and industry protection, as reflected in MFN and trade-weighted import tariffs. The toughness of competition policy enforcement, captured by the number of final instance decisions delivered by national antitrust authorities and an index developed by the EBRD, has a negative impact of greater magnitude than tariff protection. We also test for the significance of enacting major legislative amendments with regard to competition policy in the studied countries, as well as for differential effects in export-oriented and import-competing industries.

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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 06-2006.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 29 Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heiwp06-2006
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  1. Jozef Konings & Patrick Van Cayseele & Frederic Warzynski, 2005. "The Effects of Privatization and Competitive Pressure on Firms' Price-Cost Margins: Micro Evidence from Emerging Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 124-134, February.
  2. Dutz, Mark A. & Vagliasindi, Maria, 2000. "Competition policy implementation in transition economies: An empirical assessment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 762-772, May.
  3. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 2115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bottasso, Anna & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2001. "Market power, productivity and the EU Single Market Program: Evidence from a panel of Italian firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 167-186, January.
  5. James Levinsohn, 1991. "Testing the Imports-as-Market-Discipline Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 3657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Norrbin, S.C., 1993. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry: A Contradiction," Working Papers 1993_05_04, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  8. Kee, Hiau Looi & Hoekman, Bernard, 2007. "Imports, entry and competition law as market disciplines," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 831-858, May.
  9. Rumen Dobrinsky & Gábor Korösi & Nikolay Markov & László Halpern, 2004. "Firms’ Price Markups and Returns to Scale in Imperfect Markets: Bulgaria and Hungary," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-710, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  10. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish, 1998. "Trade liberalization, market discipline and productivity growth: new evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 447-462, August.
  11. Dobrinsky, Rumen & Korosi, Gabor & Markov, Nikolay & Halpern, Laszlo, 2006. "Price markups and returns to scale in imperfect markets: Bulgaria and Hungary," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 92-110, March.
  12. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
  13. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Stefano Scarpetta & Dirk Pilat, 1996. "Mark-Up Ratios in Manufacturing Industries: Estimates for 14 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 162, OECD Publishing.
  14. Jozef Konings & Patrick Van Cayseele & Frederic Warzynski, 1999. "The Dynamics of Industrial Markups in Two Small Open Economies: Does National Competition Policy Matter ?," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces9914, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  15. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 2002. "Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 963-991, June.
  16. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  18. Djankov, Simeon & Hoekman, Bernard, 1997. "Competition Law in Post-Central Planning Bulgaria," CEPR Discussion Papers 1723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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