Discussion paper

DP17490 The remarkable stability of the US manufacturing markups

Many economists believe that US markups have been rising in the latest years. The recent release of the updated NBER-CES database, that aggregates the results of the Survey of Manufactures/Census of Manufactures 1958-2018 (61 years) in 473 industries, allows us to scrutinize this idea in manufacturing. We show that firms’ average markups over the last 20 years have been remarkably stable, and confirm this finding using firm-level data from Compustat. We then look at reasons by which it is easy to have illusions of rising markups. Surprisingly, they imply that we cannot discard the fact that the markup was stable the precedent 20 years too.


Jaumandreu, J (2022), ‘DP17490 The remarkable stability of the US manufacturing markups‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17490. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17490