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Markup Pricing and Monetary Policy: A Reexamination of the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy under Imperfect Competition

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  • Baba, Naohiko

    (Bank of Japan)

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    Abstract

    If markup ratios fluctuate widely, so does output volume and investment. This magnifies the business cycle and increases uncertainty about future economic conditions. This paper investigates the implication for monetary policy by analyzing markup ratios. The main conclusions are (1) as a result of the failure of Japanese firms to fully adjust their prices to exogenous shocks, markup ratios sometimes greatly deviate from trend lines. (2) According to the menu-cost theorem, the existence of costs associated with price changes prevents firms from changing prices to the level consistent with marginal costs, thus reducing social welfare. In this regard, establishing a money supply rule under which monetary authorities accommodate exogenous shocks provides an incentive for firms to change their prices. (3) Markup pricing magnifies the social welfare cost of inflation. In this argument, monetary authorities have the optimal choice of tightening monetary policy even under low inflation, if they observe that markup ratios have remained high.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan in its journal Monetary and Economic Studies.

    Volume (Year): 15 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 1 (May)
    Pages: 27-62

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    Handle: RePEc:ime:imemes:v:15:y:1997:i:1:p:27-62

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    1. Fukuda, Shin-Ichi & Teruyama, Hiroshi & Toda, Hiro Y., 1991. "Inflation and price-wage dispersions in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 160-188, June.
    2. Roberts, John M & Stockton, David J & Struckmeyer, Charles S, 1994. "Evidence on the Flexibility of Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 142-50, February.
    3. Driffill, John & Mizon, Grayham Ernest & Ulph, Alistair Mitchell, 1989. "Costs of Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 293, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
      • Driffill, John & Mizon, Grayham E. & Ulph, Alistair, 1990. "Costs of inflation," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 1013-1066 Elsevier.
    4. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
    5. Haskel, Jonathan & Martin, Christopher & Small, Ian, 1995. "Price, Marginal Cost and the Business Cycle," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 25-41, February.
    6. Hahn, Frank, 1990. "On Inflation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 15-25, Winter.
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