Micro-Level Analysis of Mexican Retail Markets and Their Response to Changes in Market Structure and Competition Policies [electronic resource]
- This paper develops the following price indicators to measure the relative efficiency (functioning) of markets: (a) price dispersion, (b) price volatility, and (c) price transmission (speed, completeness, and symmetry). The paper uses these indicators to study trends and conditions of the outlet level in retail prices for common commodities sold throughout Mexico. The analysis examines price patterns for each indicator across commodities, regions, and time. The descriptive results indicate that although there is (expected) heterogeneity in the behavior of these indicators across commodities, location variables explain the most variation in the indicators. There are clear and persistent regional- and commodity-specific effects. Thus, the study concludes that Mexico is not one, well-integrated national market. The study tested whether changes in these indicators (increased efficiency) have the expected correlation with measures affecting the functioning of markets. It considered changes in competition and entry of large retail stores in the local retail market. These changes affect market efficiency in the way theory would predict. The results suggest that these indicators are good measures of the relative efficiency (functioning) of markets. The findings also suggest that efforts to monitor markets using these indicators may be useful. For example, for policy makers who are concerned about the distributional effects of liberalizing trade, the indicators may predict where price impacts will be felt the most and by whom. In addition, the indicators provide preliminary information about relative competition levels, which may be helpful in saving the time and effort of the competition authorities and possibly making them more effective.
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