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Identifying Industry Margins with Unobserved Price Constraints: Structural Estimation on Pharmaceuticals


  • Dubois, Pierre
  • Lasio, Laura


We provide a method allowing identification of margins in an oligopoly price competition game when prices may not be freely chosen in some markets, for example due to regulation. We use our identification strategy to study the effects of regulatory constraints in the pharmaceutical industry. We provide the first structural estimation of price-cost margins on a regulated market with price constraints and show how to identify unknown possibly binding constraints thanks to three different markets (US, Germany and France) with varying regulatory constraints. We use the market for anti-ulcer drugs to identify whether regulation in France truly affects margins and prices and relate regulatory reforms to industry pricing equilibrium. Empirical results show that firms were especially constrained in price setting after the different reforms in 2004. Counterfactual simulations show that total spending significantly increased because of the new price regulation by displacing part of the demand from generics to branded drugs.

Suggested Citation

  • Dubois, Pierre & Lasio, Laura, 2014. "Identifying Industry Margins with Unobserved Price Constraints: Structural Estimation on Pharmaceuticals," IDEI Working Papers 823, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:27918

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reynaert, Mathias & Verboven, Frank, 2014. "Improving the performance of random coefficients demand models: The role of optimal instruments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 179(1), pages 83-98.
    2. Brekke, Kurt Richard & Holmås, Tor Helge & Straume, Odd Rune, 2013. "Margins and market shares: Pharmacy incentives for generic substitution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 116-131.
    3. Margaret K. Kyle, 2007. "Pharmaceutical Price Controls and Entry Strategies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 88-99, February.
    4. Rizzo, John A, 1999. "Advertising and Competition in the Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry: The Case of Antihypertensive Drugs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 89-116, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Susan J. Méndez, 2016. "Parallel Trade of Pharmaceuticals: The Danish Market for Statins," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n08, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Jiekai ZHANG, 2016. "The impact of advertising length caps on TV: Evidence from the French broadcast TV industry," Working Papers 16-06, NET Institute.
    3. D’Haultfoeuille, Xavier & Durrmeyer, Isis & Février, Philippe, 2014. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium with Unobserved Price Discrimination," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 477, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    4. Kaiser, Ulrich & Mendez, Susan J. & Rønde, Thomas & Ullrich, Hannes, 2014. "Regulation of pharmaceutical prices: Evidence from a reference price reform in Denmark," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 174-187.
    5. Suppliet, Moritz, 2017. "Umbrella Branding in Pharmaceutical Markets," Discussion Paper 2017-034, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    6. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2016n8 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Arcidiacono, Peter & Ellickson, Paul B. & Landry, Peter & Ridley, David B., 2013. "Pharmaceutical followers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 538-553.

    More about this item


    empirical IO; price constraints; Bertrand competition; regulation; pharmaceuticals; antiulcer drugs;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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