ECON 325: Industrial Organization

  1. Introduction : scope and purpose of this guide
  2. Resources
    1. Concentration ratios
    2. About concentration ratios and market share as applied to antitrust cases...
    3. Company and industry histories
    4. Market share data
  3. Getting help
  4. Writing & citing

1.  Introduction : scope and purpose of this guide

This guide has been built to help with the term assignment in ECON 325.  It covers general sources on antitrust, industrial policy, and competition, information on market share, and resources on concentration ratios.  Finally, it lists ways to get help with your research and with writing and citing.
NOTE: This research guide is a work in progress. Please check back to catch any new resources or search strategies.
Good luck with your research!
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2.  Resources

2.a. Concentration ratios

  • US Economic Census: 2002 and earlier - Concentration Ratios
    These reports "classify [US] industries by the percent of output accounted for by the largest 4, 8, 20 and 50 companies.  Only the manufacturing reports include the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index.  Data for 2002 and 1997 are organized and classified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  Data for 1992 and prior years are organized and classified by the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) system."
  • US Economic Census: 2007
    No concentration ratios as far as I can see, but perhaps some of the data they provide will help you in calculating ratios?
  • Canadian concentration ratio data (2004 and 2007) from Statistics Canada
    The link above will take you (after you enter your SFU ID and password) to an Excel file containing concentration data for many manufacturing industries in Canada in both 2004 and 2007. This was the longest time span we could get while still ensuring the data was completely comparable between years. Earlier data used some different definitions and industrial classification systems.
    Note: if you need to cite this data, consult the Statistics Canada page that describes it for details, then use the Citing Statistics guide to help you identify the author, title, etc.that you will need to use in your APA citation.
  • Canadian concentration ratio data & Herfindahl indexes (1995-2003)
    This Statistics Canada data is available via our ABACUS database. Note, however, that this pre-2004 data is not directly comparable to the newer data because of a change in how the methodology.

2.b.  About concentration ratios and market share as applied to antitrust cases...

These resources are intended to help you understand why measures of industry concentration are important, especially in regulating industries (firm dominance and merger activity) to maintain a competitive economy.

Relationship between the Competition Bureau and the Competition Tribunal
"The Competition Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear and dispose of all applications made under parts VII.1 and VIII of the Competition Act and any related matters. It also hears references filed pursuant to section 124.2 of the Competition Act. [...] The Competition Bureau, headed by the Commissioner of Competition, is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, and other acts. The Bureau investigates complaints and decides whether to proceed with the filing of an application to the Competition Tribunal."
From the FAQs section of the Competition Tribunal site.

2.c. Company and industry histories/financials

These resources may help you identify key companies in many industries, both now and in the past. Such information, combined with the market share data in 2.d., may be useful if you need to calculate your own measures of industry concentration.

  • International Directory of Company Histories
    109 volumes online. Covers over 8500 companies - the leading organizations in many industries and geographic areas.  Each entry is 3-9 pages long and covers (among other things) the industry context for a company: key competitors, technological trends, etc.
    Includes FP Historical Reports: Info. on mergers, revenues, stock splits, etc. dating back to incorporation for the top 450 Canadian publicly-traded companies.
  • Gale's industry encyclopedias 
    A single-search option for several Gale titles such as the Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries, the Encyclopedia of Global Industries, and the Encyclopedia of American Industries. Start your search by entering the name of your commodity, product, or sector, or even just the name of a major company in the industry.
  • Books via the SFU Library
    • Try looking for books on your industry.  Start with a keyword search, then scan your results to see what subjects are used on the most relevant results and focus your search with those sujects. 
    • For example, a keyword search for apparel industry will get you items such as The transformation of the North American apparel industry : is NAFTA a curse or a blessing? which has a subject heading of Clothing trade -- North America.  Search for the root of this subject (Clothing trade) to get dozens of other titles (including more than 20 on Canada specifically) and to link to related subjects such as Fashion merchandising and Sport clothes industry.  Don't forget to try similar searches in other library catalogues - such as your local public library.
  • Financial performance indicators for Canadian business.
    Maps/Data/GIS (Bennett Library - 7th floor - special loan only): 2000-2007 editions on CD-ROM; 1999-2008 available via ABACUS. See the StatsCan site for a description of this resource. If such industry average ratios are of interest, consider also the easier-to-access Dun & Bradstreet Canada. Canadian industry norms & ratios.
  • Financial and taxation statistics for enterprises and Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises 
    More Statistics Canada publications
  • Quarterly financial report for manufacturing, mining and trade corporations.
    U.S. Department of Commerce. 1982-present
    Presents up-to-date aggregate statistics on the financial position of U.S. corporations. Based upon an extensive sample survey, the report presents estimated statements of income and retained earnings, balance sheets, and related financial and operating ratios for the domestic operations of all manufacturing corporations with assets over $250,000, and corporations in the mining and trade areas with assets over $50 million. (Industry-level data - no company-specific data.)
  • Other research guides to check for further resources: 

2.d. Market share data

Finding detailed market shares can be difficult. There is no perfect source that will always have data on the exact industry you are researching. In most cases, such information is reported in industry magazines or industry reports, and there's no guarantee that every industry will have publicly available data. 

  • Market Share Reporter
    The MSR provides market share info pulled from trade magazines, market reports, and government sites.  SFU researchers now have online access to the last 6 editions of this valuable resource. (Note: the default search setting is to search only the latest (2010) edition. Make sure you change it to all editions for better results.)  We also have some older editions of this source in print format.
  • Search within Business Source Complete for any mention in trade magazines of (market share* or marketshare*) together with your target industry or key products in that industry or key companies.
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3.  Getting help

3.b. Come to the Ask Us Desk (Bennett Library) or the Reference Desk in the Surrey or Belzberg Libraries.   Reference Librarians can help you identify your concepts, think of synonyms, choose databases and print indexes, search for articles and books here or at other libraries, search for web resources, and much more.
3.c.  If you are working at home, you could try contacting our reference librarians via telephone, chat, or email using our Ask Us services.
3.d.  You are also welcome to email the Economics Librarian (Carla Graebner) with your question. Note, however, that Carla will be out of the office until June 6th. Use the options above in the meantime. 

It makes things much more efficient if you start your email by explaining...
  • what class you are in (so I have an idea of your assignment and background),
  • when the assignment is due,
  • what exactly you are after (saying that you need "the organisation of the foresty industry" is far too broad - saying that you need to know where to find "the history and key players of the Canadian forest products industry" is better (though not necessarily simpler!)), and
  • where you have you looked so far (have you tried the SFU Library catalogue and the sources on this guide?) and what search terms you tried when you searched.
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4.  Writing & Citing

4.a. Writing your report: Research is only half the battle! You also need to communicate your findings in a clear, well-structured paper, Check the SFU Library guides to Business Writing and Writing for University  for resources to help with paper structures, grammar, spelling, and more.
4.b. Citing your sources: You also need to correctly cite all of the books, journal articles, and sites that you used in your research. Start with the SFU Library guides and tutorials on APA style listed at the top of our Writing & Style Guides page. A couple other guides that you may want to start with are Citing Sources (Duke University Libraries) and Diana Hacker's APA/Social Sciences site.
Unfortunately, APA style doesn't have very detailed guidance on how to cite many economics data resources of the sort that you will likely be using. Some interpretation of the instructions in the APA Manual (a copy is at the Ask Us Desk in the library) may be necessary. However, I'd suggest starting by scanning the great How to cite business sources in APA guide from McGill University. Look for examples that will help you apply APA to the data sources you found.
Learning how to properly credit others when you use their ideas is a dfficult, but important part of research. Start with the SFU Library's interactive tutorial "Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism" to test yourself and to learn more about plagiarism. Also read the SFU Library Guide on Plagiarism for further discussion of this critical topic and for links to other plagiarism guides.
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