A central motivating factor for studying price markups is their effect on consumer welfare. Reported estimates of (firm-level) price markups in the literature, however, are often focused on industry or cross-country comparisons. These treat different industries equally rather than based on how relevant they are for consumers. We propose markup measures in which firm-level price markups are weighted according to consumption expenditures in the respective industries. Using a concordance table between consumption categories (otherwise used for the calculation of consumer price indices) and a firm’s industry classification, we report results for Germany for the years 2002 through 2016. We find that consumption-weighted price markups are higher than the conventionally reported revenue-weighted markups. We further show that consumption-weighted markups have increased faster, in particular for medium-income households, which highlights a potential role of price markup as a contributing factor to changes of inequality in society.

Ganglmair, Bernhard, Alexander Kann and Ilona Tsanko (2020), Markups for Consumers, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 20-079, Mannheim. Download

Keywords

COICOP; consumption weights; Germany; inequality; price markups