This chapter discusses four main points about price competition in the U.S. man-made fibers industry. The first two of those concern prices' secular trends and shorter-term rigidity. Price types and structure constitute a third important issue. Pricing strategies and practices represent the last aspect of price competition to be discussed.
Rayon list prices underwent a significant secular decline, according to Markham [ Markham, 7]. Did this secular decline in real price continue after 1948, or is it merely a phenomenon associated with the embryonic and growth stages of such product's life cycle? Either a horizontal or rising pricetrend is possible, too. Which of these three trends best fits the newer man-made fibers' prices?
Three groups of 21 price series were collected, deflated, and regressed against time to test their slopes for significant departures from zero, that is, a horizontal trend. The 21 regressions' results are presented in Table 6-1. The regression price data were classified into one of three groups according to source and character on Table 6-1.
Eight list price series, complied from monthly issues of the now defunct Modern Textiles magazine, formed one group. These series were chosen both to represent the largest-volume fiber genera and forms and to be large-volume items in those categories for the longest possible spans between 1948 and 1972. A 150 denier rayon series also was included to directly reassess the product Markham used in his secular trend test. Modern Textiles stopped publishing list prices in early 1973. As its tables of prices increased from roughly four in the early years to over 20 this public service became too onerous to sustain without support from the man-made fiber producers. Those firms were loath to subsidize such an effort as they already gave complete