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Output Supply and Input Demand in the Pulp and Paper Industry: A Nonparametric Model for the United States and Canada

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Demand and supply relationships are needed to understand the economics of the pulp and paper industry and to make forecasts of inputs, outputs, and prices. Here, long-run supply and demand elasticities were derived with a nonparametric method exploiting the consequences of the weak axiom of profit maximization (WAPM). No assumption was required regarding the form of the profit function, and all own-price elasticities necessarily had the expected theoretical signs. But, an infinite number of quantity responses being consistent with the theory and data, finding a unique response required a new assumption: that quantities adjusted just enough to satisfy the WAPM. The data pertained to the pulp and paper industries of the United States and Canada from 1959 to 1987. They recognized four outputs and nine inputs. A price shock of 20% led to elasticities that closely satisfied local homogeneity of the supply/demand functions, and symmetry of their price derivatives. Output supplies were all elastic, or nearly so, with respect to their own prices. The own-price elasticities of input demand ranged from -0.4 to -2.2, demand for capital being one of the most elastic. Cross-price elasticities tended to be small. The method was also applied to make out-of-sample forecast of inputs and outputs conditional on observed prices, under nonregressive technical change. Forecasts for 1983 to 1987 were generally unbiased. A synthesis of parametric and nonparametric methods is still needed to improve forecasts. For. Sci. 43(1):35-45.
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Keywords: Profit maximization; elasticities; nonlinear programming; pulpwood; substitution

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WU 53706

Publication date: 1997-02-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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