Understanding How Price Responds to Costs and Production

56 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2000 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

See all articles by Mark Bils

Mark Bils

University of Rochester - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Yongsung Chang

University of Rochester - Department of Economics; Yonsei University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 1999

Abstract

The importance of sticky prices in business cycle fluctuations has been debated for many years. But we argue, based on a large empirical literature from the 1950's and 60's, that it is necessary to distinguish the response of price to an increase in factor prices from its response to an increase in marginal cost generated by an expansion in production. Consistent with that earlier literature, we find for 450 U.S. manufacturing industries that prices do respond more to increases in costs driven by changes in factor prices than to increases in marginal cost precipitated by expansions in output. We explore two models that can potentially explain these findings. Both break the link between price and marginal cost, thereby generating what one might naively interpret as average-cost pricing. The first is driven by firms pricing to limit entry. The second is driven by firms pricing to limit non-price competition within their market.

Suggested Citation

Bils, Mark and Chang, Yongsung, Understanding How Price Responds to Costs and Production (August 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7311. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=197888

Mark Bils (Contact Author)

University of Rochester - Department of Economics ( email )

Harkness Hall
Rochester, NY 14627-0158
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yongsung Chang

University of Rochester - Department of Economics ( email )

Harkness Hall
Rochester, NY 14627
United States

Yonsei University - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Yonsei-Ro
Seoul, 120-749
Korea

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