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Concentration and costs in Canadian food manufacturing industries, 1961-1982 Cahill, Sean Andrew


This study is concerned with- the effects of changes in industrial concentration on average costs of production in 17 Canadian 4—digit food manufacturing industries over the period 1961-1982. The model employed is a dual Translog cost function adapted to include a concentration variable (Herfindahl index) and technical change, and is estimated using pooling techniques to allow simultaneous analysis of all 17 industries. The results indicate that there was a significant relationship between concentration and average costs for this sample. In particular, there appears to have been a decrease in average costs for low-concentration industries as concentration increased, ceteris paribus, while in high-concentration industries, increases in concentration led to increases in costs. Concentration changes have also had an effect on the relative shares of factors of production for these industries. An evaluation of employment effects across industries indicates that the benefits in efficiency due to increases in concentration in low-concentration industries must be weighed against apparent decreases in the overall employment (of labour) for these industries. Alternatively, the efficiency losses in high-concentration industries appear to have been offset by increases in overall employment as concentration has increased. Thus, depending on the criterion used, relative concentration effects may have been beneficial or detremental to social welfare; the outcome is not unequivocal.

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