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Stockouts bear an inverse relation to the price markup in models with a stockout constraint on sales because stockouts cost the seller the markup of price over marginal cost. I examine stockouts in micro-CPI data, for goods comprising more than a quarter of consumer expenditures, to deduce the level and cyclicality of markups for 1988–2009. The predictable increase in stockouts, as price declines, over durables׳ product life implies markups on the order of 15 percent. For much of the sample period stockouts were acyclical, suggesting markups were acyclical. But for the latter part of the sample, including the Great Recession, stockouts are procyclical consistent with countercylical markups.
Journal: Research in Economics - Volume 70, Issue 2, June 2016, Pages 320–331