An empirical analysis of the pricing behaviour of selected 3-digit sectors in the South African manufacturing industry (1965-1990).
While conventional economic theory posits that price is determined by the interplay between the forces of supply and demand, review of literature reveals that the findings of industrial surveys and empirical studies of the pricing behaviour of firms have cast doubts on the validity of this hypothesis. A close scrutiny of the literature shows that there are two main hypotheses of pricing, namely, the excess demand hypothesis and the mark-up hypothesis. The former is associated with the conventional view that price is determined by the interaction of demand and supply, while the latter hypothesis is often associated with business practice in the real world. A majority of empirical studies lends support to the mark-up hypothesis. However, there is also a sizable number of studies that lend support to the excess demand hypothesis. This study uses data for the South African manufacturing sector to test the validity and the explanatory power of these hypotheses. The difference between this study and most of the previous studies is the fact that in the present study an attempt is made to use disaggregated data in the actual testing of the hypotheses. While the results of this study demonstrate overwhelming support for the mark-up hypothesis, they also demonstrate that the role played by demand can not be dismissed.