The Limitations of Industry Concentration Measures Constructed with Compustat Data: Implications for Finance Research
University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management
University of Arizona - Department of Finance
P. Eric Yeung
Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
February 1, 2008
Industry concentration measures calculated with Compustat data, which cover only the public firms in an industry, are poor proxies of actual industry concentration. These measures have correlations of only 13 percent with the corresponding U.S. Census measures, which are based on all public and private firms in an industry. Also, only when U.S. Census measures are used is there evidence consistent with theoretical predictions that more concentrated industries, which should be more oligopolistic, are populated by larger and fewer firms with higher price-cost margins. Further, the significant relations of Compustat based industry concentration measures with the dependent variables of several important prior studies are not obtained when U.S. Census measures are used. One of the reasons for this occurrence is that Compustat based measures proxy for industry decline. Overall, our results indicate that product markets research that uses Compustat based industry concentration measures may lead to incorrect conclusions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Industry concentration, product market competition, finance research
JEL Classification: G12, L10
Date posted: August 24, 2006 ; Last revised: July 26, 2014
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