Counterintuitive Is Cool: The Case of Markups
| Lasse Lien |
Counterintuitive empirical findings are endlessly more fascinating than expected or obvious ones. One counterintuitive finding I have picked up since the onset of the financial crisis is that markups are on average counter-cyclical. To spell it out: markups go up in a recessions and they fall in a boom (on average). Maybe it’s just me, but if asked about this two years ago I would have bet that markups were bid down during recessions in all but extreme market structures.
Here is a cool new paper that deals with this and several other interesting aspects of the dynamics of business cycles:
We characterise endogenous market structures under Bertrand and Cournot competition in a DSGE model. Short-run mark ups vary countercyclically because of the impact of entry on competition. Long-run mark ups are decreasing in the discount factor and in productivity, and increasing in the exit rate and in the entry costs. Dynamic inefficiency can emerge due to excessive entry under Cournot competition. Positive temporary shocks attract entry, which strengthens competition so as to reduce the mark ups temporarily and increase real wages: this competition effect creates an intertemporal substitution effect which boosts consumption and employment. Endogenous market structures improve the ability of a flexible prices model in matching impulse response functions and second moments for US data.
Etro, F. and Colciago, A., “Endogenous Market Structures and the Business Cycle,” Economic Journal 120 (2010): 1201–33.