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Production and costs in the South African motor vehicle industry

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This study investigates the existence of economies of scale in the South African motor vehicle industry as well as the substitution possibilities between input pairs and the direct and cross-price elasticities of demand for the various inputs. Because of data limitations, a translog cost function was estimated for only a three input model corresponding to a homogeneous production function involving capital, labour and intermediate goods. The issue of the existence of economies of scale in the South African motor vehicle industry is a particularly important one because South Africa once again is a member of GATT and a full participant in the international trade arena. The null hypothesis of constant returns to scale was rejected at the 0.5% level of significance. Thus, the results of this model are certainly consistent with economies of scale in the South African motor vehicle industry. The estimated direct price elasticities were consistent with the hypothesis that, during the past two decades, capital was the productive factor with the most elastic demand, and the estimated cross-elasticities between input pairs generally supported the hypothesis that all inputs are substitutes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Economics and Finance, The University of Texas, San Antonio, TX, USA

Publication date: November 10, 2006

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