Price-Cost Margins and Shares of Fixed Factors



Reduced form approaches to estimate markups typically exploit variation in observed input and output. However, these approaches ignore the presence of fixed input factors, which may result in an overestimation of the price-cost margins. We first propose a new methodology to simultaneously estimate price-cost margins and the shares of fixed inputs. We then use Belgian firm level data for manufacturing and service sectors to show that markups are lower when taking into account fixed input factors. We find that the average price-cost margin of manufacturing firms is 0.041, compared to 0.090 when we do not control for fixed costs of production. We also show that price-cost margins increase with the share of fixed costs in turnover. Our findings provide new insights about observed high price-cost margins in service industries. In particular, we show that once fixed costs are taken into account, price-cost margins in service industries are comparable to those in manufacturing.

Download full-text


Available from: Werner Röger, Oct 01, 2015
21 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increased transmission capacity and diminishing returns to scale in power production capacities have raised the opportunity cost of electricity in many countries. The resulting market changes have often been counteracted by policy, i.e. subsidized electricity prices to for instance energy intensive industries. Firm data, emphasizing cost heterogeneity, confirm that a large share of Norwegian energy intensive firms would not be profitable in the long run if they lose their present electricity subsidies. However, CGE estimates show that removing the subsidies allows a tax cut that is more than sufficient to bring about the changes in relative prices needed to restore internal and external balances.
    Journal of Industrial Economics 01/1998; 47(15/1998). · 1.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Numerous countries have adopted or strengthened competition laws in the past two decades. At the same time, domestic industries in most countries are facing ever more intense pressure from imports. In this paper we study the impact of competition law on domestic competition for a large number of countries over time, controlling for the presence of imports and the number of domestic firms. We find that while industries that have higher import exposure or larger numbers of domestic firms tend to be more competitive, the direct effect of competition law on competition is insignificant. However, we also find that industries that operate under a competition law tend to have a larger number of domestic firms. This suggests that competition laws may have an indirect effect on domestic competition by promoting entry.
    European Economic Review 02/2003; 51(4-51):831-858. DOI:10.1016/j.euroecorev.2006.06.006 · 1.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper contributes empirically to our understanding of informed traders. It analyzes traders' characteristics in a foreign exchange electronic limit order market via anonymous trader identities. We use six indicators of informed trading in a cross-sectional multivariate approach to identify traders with high price impact. More information is conveyed by those traders' trades which--simultaneously--use medium-sized orders (practice stealth trading), have large trading volume, are located in a financial center, trade early in the trading session, at times of wide spreads and when the order book is thin.
    Journal of Competition Law and Economics 01/2008; 6(200807). DOI:10.2139/ssrn.1138682 · 0.83 Impact Factor
Show more