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Author:Bridgman, Benjamin 

Journal Article
What do wages tell us about future inflation?
AUTHORS: Bridgman, Benjamin; Trehan, Bharat
DATE: 1996

Working Paper
Heterogeneous car buyers: a stylized fact
Using a new dataset, we document a systematic pattern in the demographic characteristics of car buyers over the model year: as vehicle prices fall over the model year, so do buyer incomes. This pattern is consistent with price-insensitive buyers purchasing early in the year, while others wait until prices decline, and suggests price skimming (i.e. intertemporal price discrimination). Such consumer heterogeneity over the model year raises questions for measuring quality improvements in new goods.
AUTHORS: Nalewaik, Jeremy J.; Bridgman, Benjamin; Aizcorbe, Ana M.
DATE: 2009

Report
What ever happened to the Puerto Rican sugar manufacturing industry?
Beginning in the early 1900s, Puerto Rican sugar has entered the U.S. mainland tariff free. Given this new status, the Puerto Rican sugar industry grew dramatically, soon far outstripping Louisiana?s production. Then, in the middle 1960s, something amazing happened. Production collapsed. Manufacturing sugar in Puerto Rico was no longer profitable. Louisiana, in contrast, continued to produce and grow sugar. We argue that local economic policy was responsible for the industry?s demise. In the 1930s and 1940s, the local Puerto Rican government enacted policies to stifle the growth of large cane-farms. As a result, starting in the late 1930s, farm size fell, mechanization of farms essentially ceased, and the Puerto Rican sugar industry?s productivity (relative to Louisiana) rapidly declined until the industry collapsed. The overall Puerto Rican economy also began to perform poorly in the late 1930s. In particular, Puerto Rico?s per capita income was converging to that of the poorest U.S. states until the late 1930s, but since then it has lost ground to these states. One naturally wonders: was the poor overall performance of the Puerto Rican economy also the result of policy? We show that Puerto Rico embarked on other economic policies in the early 1940s that proved to be major setbacks to its economic development.
AUTHORS: Maio, Michael; Schmitz, James A.; Bridgman, Benjamin
DATE: 2012

Report
Does regulation reduce productivity? Evidence from regulation of the U.S. beet-sugar manufacturing industry during the Sugar Acts, 1934-74
We study the impact of regulation on productivity and welfare in the U.S. sugar manufacturing industry. While this U.S. industry has been protected from foreign competition for nearly 150 years, it was regulated only during the Sugar Act period, 1934-74. We show that regulation significantly reduced productivity, with these productivity losses leading to large welfare losses. Our initial results indicate that the welfare losses are many times larger than those typically studied ? those arising from higher prices. We also argue that the channels through which regulation led to large productivity and welfare declines in this industry were also present in many other regulated industries, like banking and trucking.
AUTHORS: Bridgman, Benjamin; Schmitz, James A.; Qi, Shi
DATE: 2007

Report
The economic performance of cartels: evidence from the New Deal U.S. sugar manufacturing cartel, 1934-74
We study the U.S. sugar manufacturing cartel that was created during the New Deal. This was a legal-cartel that lasted 40 years (1934-74). As a legal-cartel, the industry was assured widespread adherence to domestic and import sales quotas (given it had access to government enforcement powers). But it also meant accepting government-sponsored cartel-provisions. These provisions significantly distorted production at each factory and also where the industry was located. These distortions were reflected in, for example, a declining industry recovery rate, that is, the pounds of white sugar produced per ton of beets. It declined from about 310 pounds in 1934 to 240 pounds in 1974. The cartel provisions also distorted the location of industry. For example, it kept production in California and the Far West. Since the cartel ended in 1974, California's share of sugar production has dropped dramatically.
AUTHORS: Qi, Shi; Schmitz, James A.; Bridgman, Benjamin
DATE: 2009

Report
Cartels Destroy Productivity: Evidence from the New Deal Sugar Manufacturing Cartel, 1934-74
The idea that cartels might reduce industry productivity by misallocating production from high to low productivity producers is as old as Adam. However, the study of the economic consequences of cartels has almost exclusively focused on the losses from higher prices (i.e., Harberger triangles). Yet, as the old idea suggests, we show that the rules for quotas and side payments in the New Deal sugar cartel led to significant misallocation of production. The resulting productivity declines essentially destroyed the entire cartel profit. The magnitude of the deadweight losses (relative to value added) was large: we estimate a lower bound for the losses equal to 25 percent and 42 percent in the beet and cane industries, respecttively.
AUTHORS: Bridgman, Benjamin; Qi, Shi; Schmitz, James A.
DATE: 2015-10-31

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