The markup (the ratio of price to marginal cost) in Canada has risen steadily since the early 1990s suggesting a widening gap between the actual and the efficient level of output and a declining share of labor income in GDP. It exhibits non-stationary movements over the sample period 1982Q1 to 2009Q4, allowing us to identify a permanent markup shock. We provide evidence that oil price movements are important for understanding the behavior of the markup, and separately identify both oil price shocks and permanent non-oil markup shocks. Our key findings are: (1) oil price shocks and non-oil markup shocks account for 50 to 80. percent of the variation in the markup, with the former dominating at shorter horizons; (2) the role of oil price shocks is prominent in accounting for the upward trend in the markup since the mid-1990s; (3) the direct effects of oil prices on the markup in the mining sector (which includes the oil-producing sector) have contributed the most to the upward trend in the aggregate markup; and (4) other explanations such as market structure shifts, trend inflation movements and the falling relative price of investment do not appear to account for the behavior of the markup.

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Economic Modelling
Department of Economics

Khan, H.U, & Kim, B.-G. (Bae-Geun). (2013). Markups and oil prices in Canada. Economic Modelling, 30(1), 799–813. doi:10.1016/j.econmod.2012.10.017