The Cyclical Response of Advertising Refutes Counter-Cyclical Profit Margins in Favor of Product-Market Frictions
According to the standard model, advertising is remarkably sensitive to profit margins. Firms advertise to stimulate demand for their products. They advertise high-margin products aggressively and low-margin ones hardly at all. In macroeconomics, variations in profit margins over the business cycle have a key role. A widening of margins can explain the rise in unemployment in recessions. A higher margin implies a lower real wage. A variety of models ranging from Keynesian to search-and-matching map a decline in wages to higher unemployment. But a rise in profit margins should expand advertising by a lot. Really a lot. Advertising should be highly countercyclical. Instead, it is somewhat procyclical. The ratio of advertising spending to private GDP falls when the economy contracts. The behavior of advertising refutes the hypothesis that profit margins rise. But it is true that the labor share of income falls. Hence there must be another factor that lowers the labor share without raising profit margins. The only influence that fits the facts is a rise in a product-market friction that has the same effect as an increase in sales taxes.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Note:||EFG LS ME|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012.
"Markups and Firm-Level Export Status,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-71, October.
- De Loecker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-level Export Status," CEPR Discussion Papers 7450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2009. "Markups and firm-level export status," NBER Working Papers 15198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- De Locker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," Working Papers 09-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Judith A. Chevalier & David S. Scharfstein, 1994.
"Capital Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
4614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chevalier, Judith A & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Countercyclical Markups: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 703-25, September.
- Bresnahan, Timothy F., 1989. "Empirical studies of industries with market power," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 1011-1057 Elsevier.
- Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
- Edmond, Chris & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009.
"Income dispersion and counter-cyclical markups,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 791-804, September.
- repec:adr:anecst:y:1994:i:34:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
- Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2013. "The Cyclical Behavior of the Price-Cost Markup," NBER Working Papers 19099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Armstrong, Mark & Porter, Robert, 2007. "Preface to the Handbook of Industrial Organization, Volume 3," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
- Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
- Nicholas Kaldor, 1950. "The Economic Aspects of Advertising," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-27.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18370. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.