Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

The cyclical behavior of prices and costs

In: Handbook of Macroeconomics

Contents:

Author Info

  • Rotemberg, Julio J.
  • Woodford, Michael

Abstract

Because inputs are scarce, marginal cost is an increasing function of output. Diminishing returns, costs of increasing employment as well as the increasing marginal disutility of working when hours worked and effort rise all contribute to make this function steep. Without changes in this function relating marginal cost to output, aggregate output can vary if and only if the markup of price to marginal cost (the inverse of real marginal cost for typical firms) varies. We first study whether, empirically, real marginal cost does rise in cyclical expansions. Average real labor cost is not very procyclical but, for several reasons, marginal labor cost is more procyclical than average labor cost. These include the presence of overhead labor and adjustment costs as well as differences between the marginal and the average wage. These corrections results in procyclical measures of real marginal cost. Measures of marginal costs based on materials costs and inventories also appear procyclical. We show that these procyclical movements in marginal cost may, depending on how costs are modeled, account for a substantial fraction of cyclical output movements. Finally, we survey models of variable markups. These include both models of sticky prices (in which markups vary because firms cannot all costlessly charge the markup they desire) and models in which firms' desired markup varies over time. This set of models allows a rich set of variables to affect output even if these variables do not shift the marginal cost schedule.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B7P5X-4FPWV0F-S/2/29deed11470b123d7f53e1a1664faa2d
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

as in new window

This chapter was published in:

  • J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Macroeconomics with number 1-16.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:macchp:1-16

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Other versions of this item:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Interpreting information, markups, and the economic cycle
      by Matt Nolan in TVHE on 2012-09-04 19:00:52
    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:macchp:1-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.