Globalization, Markups, and the U.S. Price Level
NBER Working Paper No. 15749
This paper is the first attempt to structurally estimate the impact of globalization on markups, and the effect of changing markups on welfare, in a monopolistic competition model. To achieve this, we work with a class of preferences that allow for endogenous markups and firm entry and exit that are especially convenient for empirical work – the translog preferences, with symmetry in substitution imposed across products. Between 1992 and 2005 we find the U.S. market experienced a series of changes that confirm a pro-competitive effect: import shares rose and U.S. firms exited, leading to an implied fall in markups, while product variety and welfare went up. We estimate the impacts of these effects on a national level, and find that U.S. welfare rose by as much as 0.86 percent between 1992 and 2005 as a result of these changes, with product variety contributing one-half of that total.
This paper was revised on July 15, 2013