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Markups in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing: A Short Run Econometric Analysis


  • Catherine J. Morrison


In this paper a production theory-based model of firms' markup behavior is constructed. The theoretical structure is based on variants of generalized Leontief cost and expenditure functions. This structure yields a full specification of behavior from which the impacts of both supply and demand shocks on firms' markup behavior can be assessed through elasticities. Adjustment costs on both labor and capital and economies of scale are incorporated. Estimation is carried out using manufacturing data for the U.S. and Japan from 1960 through 1981. The empirical results suggest that markups for manufacturing firms in the U.S. and Japan have increased over time, but tend to be procyclical in the U.S. and countercyclical in Japan. This difference stems primarily from differential investment behavior. In addition, capacity utilization and especially returns to scale tend to counteract the short run profit potential from markup behavior, so that markups measured assuming constant returns may be biased downward. Finally, both supply and demand shocks appear to have a significant systematic impact on markups.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine J. Morrison, 1988. "Markups in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing: A Short Run Econometric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2799
    Note: EFG PR

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Appelbaum, Elie, 1979. "Testing price taking behavior," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 283-294, February.
    2. Morrison, C. J. & Berndt, E. R., 1981. "Short-run labor productivity in a dynamic model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 339-365, August.
    3. Berndt, Ernst R & Morrison, Catherine J, 1981. "Capacity Utilization Measures: Underlying Economic Theory and an Alternative Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 48-52, May.
    4. Morrison, Catherine J, 1985. "Primal and Dual Capacity Utilization: An Application to Productivity Measurement in the U.S. Automobile Industry," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 312-324, October.
    5. Berndt, Ernst R & Khaled, Mohammed S, 1979. "Parametric Productivity Measurement and Choice among Flexible Functional Forms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1220-1245, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salman Ahmad & Attiya Yasmin Javid, 2015. "Analysing the Price Cost Markup and Its Behaviour over the Business Cycles in Case of Manufacturing Industries of Pakistan," PIDE-Working Papers 2015:117, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    2. Moreno, Rosina & Lopez-Bazo, Enrique & Artis, Manuel, 2002. "Evaluating the optimality of Spanish industry (1980-1993)," ERSA conference papers ersa02p353, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Sumru Altug & Fanny S. Demers & Michel Demers, 2004. "Tax Policy and Irreversible Investment," CDMA Working Paper Series 200404, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    4. Rotemberg, Julio J. & Woodford, Michael, 1999. "The cyclical behavior of prices and costs," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 1051-1135 Elsevier.
    5. Charlotta Groth, 2005. "Estimating UK capital adjustment costs," Bank of England working papers 258, Bank of England.
    6. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2001. "Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 225-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. M. Ishaq Nadiri & Ingmar Prucha, 2001. "Dynamic Factor Demand Models and Productivity Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 103-172 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Catherine J. Morrison, 1989. "Unraveling the Productivity Growth Slowdown in the U.S., Canada and Japan: The Effects of Subequilibrium, Scale Economies and Markup," NBER Working Papers 2993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Mellander, Erik, 1991. "An Indirect Approach to Measuring Productivity in Private Services," Working Paper Series 300, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised Mar 1992.
    10. Chen, Kaiji & Song, Zheng, 2013. "Financial frictions on capital allocation: A transmission mechanism of TFP fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 683-703.
    11. Richard De Abreu Lourenco & Philip Lowe, 1994. "Demand Shocks, Inflation and the Business Cycle," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9411, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    12. Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2004. "Markups, Aggregation, and Inventory Adjustment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1328-1353, December.
    13. Matteo Manera, 2006. "Modelling factor demands with SEM and VAR: an empirical comparison," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 121-146, October.
    14. Subal C. Kumbhakar, 1996. "Le ralentissement de la productivité des entreprises d'électricité au Texas : le rôle des marges, des rendements d'échelle et du progrès technique," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 126(5), pages 77-89.
    15. Rumen Dobrinsky & Gabor Korosi & Nikolay Markov & Laszlo Halpern, 2004. "Firms’ Price Markups and Returns to Scale in Imperfect Markets - Bulgaria and Hungary," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0412, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    16. Lourdes Moreno Martín & Diego Rodríguez Rodríguez, "undated". "Domestic and Foreign Price-Marginal Cost Margins: An Application to Spain Manufacturing Firms," Working Papers on International Economics and Finance 00-03, FEDEA.

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