NBER Working Papers by Robert Weiner

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Working Papers

July 1991Long-Term Contracting and Multiple-Price Systems
with R. Glenn Hubbard: w3782
This paper examines product markets in which long-term contracts and spot transactions coexist. Such markets are characterized by "multiple-price systems," wherein adjustment to supply and demand shocks occurs through spot prices, while contract prices are fixed, or adjust slowly. We derive the existence of contracts, as well as the equilibrium fraction of spot trade, in the framework of an optimizing model, and analyze the effects of shocks on market equilibrium when some buyers and sellers are "locked in" contractually. The model is employed to interpret the change in the copper market from a multiple-price system to one characterized solely by spot trade.
November 1990Efficient Contracting and Market Power: Evidence from the U.S. Natural Gas Industry
with R. Glenn Hubbard: w3502
It is well recognized by economists that long-term contracting under an array of price and non-price provisions may be an efficient response to small-numbers bargaining problems. Empirical work to distinguish such issues from predictions of models of market power and bargaining has been sparse, principally because the necessary data on individual transactions are seldom publicly available. The U.S. natural gas industry is well suited for such tests both because of the small number of buyers (pipelines) and sellers (producers) in each market and the large capital commitments required of transacting parties at the inning of the contract. We present a model of the bilateral bargaining process is natural gas field markets under uncertainty. We identify the 'initial price' as the outcome of th...
June 1989Multinational Corporations, Transfer Prices, and Taxes: Evidence from the U.S. Petroleum Industry
with Jean-Thomas Bernard: w3013
Economic research on transfer-pricing behavior by multinational corporadons has emphasized theoretical modeling and institutional description. This paper presents the fiit systematic empirical analysis of transfer prices, using data from the petroleum industry. On the basis of oil imported into the United States over the period 1973 - 1984, we test two propositions: i) Are prices set by integrated companies for their internal transfers different from those prevailing in arm 's-length (i.e., inter-company) trade, when other variables, such as oil quality, are controlled for? ii) Do average effective corporate income tar rates explain observed patterns of transfer pricing? Regression analysis leads to the following conclusions: i) Transfer and arm's-length prices differ significantly for...
October 1985Nominal Contracting and Price Flexibility in Product Markets
with R. Glenn Hubbard: w1738
The search for microeconomic foundations of non-Walrasian outcomes in labor and product markets has spawned many studies of contracting. This paper emphasizes the role of contracts for market equilibrium -- for many raw materials and basic industrial commodities -- in which long-term contractual arrangements and spot markets coexist. Our principal goals are two -- (i) to explain the existence of contracts and the equilibrium fraction of trades carried out under contract, and (ii) to consider the impact of demand and supply shocks on spot prices when market trades also take place through long-term contracts. We find that the relative importance of contracting depends on, inter alia, the variance of the spot price and the sources of underlying fluctuations. Consistent with the findings of pr...

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