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A TRANSLOG COST FUNCTION ANALYSIS OF INPUT SUBSTITUTION IN THE U.S. COPPER SMELTING INDUSTRY 1960 - 1991

by Pitts, Morris Michael.

Abstract (Summary)
The copper smelting industry has under gone extreme change over the past three decades. These changes have reordered dramatically the demand for inputs and the way in which those inputs have been utilized. The stimulus for change has come from multiple sources, and chief among these stimuli has been the mandate to sharply curtail the atmospheric release of sulfur dioxide. Even though the total emissions were lower than those from steam generation of electricity and from the refinery and petro-chemical industry, the perceived local and regional impact of sulfur dioxide forced extreme changes in the utilization of fundamental inputs of capital, labor, energy and materials. This study attempts to analyze these input use changes by modeling the industry as a translog cost function and by generating a number of associated elasticities. In addition to the four basic inputs, the model includes as control variables output, and other variables that represent pollution abatement and technical change. The challenge of estimating a large model on a limited number of observations has delivered information that is more limited in scope than was originally desired. The proxy for technical change did not produce significant parameters and the pollution abatement proxy is limited in its participation in the results. The range of elasticities computed reveal a picture of an industry characterized by inelasticity, in general, labor and energy being part of the exceptions. The industry is found to be sensitive to output level in its degree of elasticity among inputs. 9 The translog model is found to be an effective tool for industry analysis. The promise of detailed analytical information may be even greater at the firm level where data are more accurate and the number of observations far greater. 10
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School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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