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Markup Behavior in Durable and Nondurable Manufacturing: A production Theory Approach


  • Catherine J. Morrison


In this paper I provide a production theory-based framework for measuring markups of price over marginal coat, and the effects of cost and demand characteristics on these markups. Price to marginal coat ratios are measured for various Canadian manufacturing industries, and the impacts of capacity utilization, scale economies, changing prices of variable inputs, import competition, unemployment and other cost and demand determinants are evaluated using adjusted markup indexes and elasticities of the markup ratios. The measured price margins are within a reasonable range and tend to be countercyclical. Moreover, these measures suggest that profitability stemming from the potential to increase price over marginal cost appears primarily to arise from cost characteristics determining scale economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine J. Morrison, 1989. "Markup Behavior in Durable and Nondurable Manufacturing: A production Theory Approach," NBER Working Papers 2941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2941
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Morrison, Catherine, 1988. "Subequilibrium in the North American Steel Industries: A Study of Short Run Biases from Regulation and Utilisation Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 390-411, June.
    3. Morrison, Catherine J., 1986. "Productivity measurement with non-static expectations and varying capacity utilization : An integrated approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 51-74.
    4. Melvyn A. Fuss & Leonard Waverman, 1986. "The Extent and Sources of Cost and Efficiency Differences Between U.S. and Japanese Automobile Producers," NBER Working Papers 1849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Appelbaum, Elie, 1979. "Testing price taking behavior," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 283-294, February.
    6. Lawrence Schembri, 1989. "Export Prices and Exchange Rates: An Industry Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness, pages 185-216 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1987. "Measuring Market Power in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 2212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-947, October.
    9. 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.
    10. Julio J. Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 1984. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Business Cycles and Price Wars During Booms," NBER Working Papers 1412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Appelbaum, Elie, 1982. "The estimation of the degree of oligopoly power," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 287-299, August.
    12. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
    13. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-855, December.
    14. Pindyck, Robert S & Rotemberg, Julio J, 1983. "Dynamic Factor Demands and the Effects of Energy Price Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1066-1079, December.
    15. Morrison, Catherine J, 1988. "Quasi-Fixed Inputs in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing: A Generalized Leontief Restricted Cost Function Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 275-287, May.
    16. 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. 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.
    2. Gordon R. Richards, 1992. "Endogenous Technological Advance and Postwar Economic Growth: A Production Function Analysis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 315-331, Summer.
    3. 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.
    4. Portier, Franck, 1995. "Le rôle des variations de taux de marge dans les fluctuations macroéconomiques conjoncturelles," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 71(2), pages 218-249, juin.

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