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Do Menu Costs Make Prices Sticky?

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  • Thomas A. Eife

    ()
    (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)

Abstract

This paper studies whether menu costs are large enough to explain why firms are so reluctant to change their prices. Without actually estimating menu costs, we can infer their relevance for firms' price setting decisions from observed pricing behavior around a currency changeover. At a currency changeover, firms have to reprint their price tags (menus) independently of whether or not they want to change prices. And if this is costly, firms' price setting behavior is altered in the months around the changeover. Using data from the Euro-changeover, the paper estimates that menu costs can explain a stickiness of around 30 days which is considerably less than the 7 to 24-month stickiness we observe in retailing and in the service sector. The reluctance of firms to adjust prices more frequently appears to be caused by factors other than menu costs.

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File URL: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/md/awi/forschung/dp477.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0477.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision: Oct 2008
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0477

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Keywords: menu costs; price stickiness;

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References

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  1. Hall, Simon & Walsh, Mark & Yates, Anthony, 2000. "Are UK Companies' Prices Sticky?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 425-46, July.
  2. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2005. "Microfoundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 313-38, April.
  3. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Álvarez, L. & Dhyne, E. & Hoeberichts, M. & Kwapil, C. & Le Bihan, H. & Lünnemann, P. & Martins, F. & Sabbatini, R. & Stahl,H. & Vermeulen, P. & Vilmunen, J., 2005. "Sticky Prices in the Euro Area: A Summary of New Micro Evidence," Working papers 138, Banque de France.
  5. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Rebecca Hellerstein, 2006. "A Framework for Identifying the Sources of Local-Currency Price Stability with an Empirical Application," 2006 Meeting Papers 625, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Rebecca Hellerstein, 2007. "A Structural Approach to Identifying the Sources of Local-Currency Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 13183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Levy, Daniel, et al, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-825, August.
  8. Matthias R. Fengler & Joachim K. Winter, 2007. "Price variability and price dispersion in a stable monetary environment: evidence from German retail markets," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 789-801.
  9. Emmanuel Dhyne & Catherine Fuss & M. Hashem Pesaran & Patrick Sevestre, 2007. "Lumpy Price Adjustments: A Microeconometric Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2010, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Bart Hobijn & Federico Ravenna & Andrea Tambalotti, 2006. "Menu Costs at Work: Restaurant Prices and the Introduction of the Euro," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 1103-1131, 08.
  11. Dutta, Shantanu, et al, 1999. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 683-703, November.
  12. Danziger, Leif, 1983. "Price Adjustments with Stochastic Inflation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 699-707, October.
  13. Jonker, Nicole & Folkertsma, Carsten & Blijenberg, Harry, 2004. "An empirical analysis of price setting behaviour in the Netherlands in the period 1998-2003 using micro data," Working Paper Series 0413, European Central Bank.
  14. Baudry, Laurent & Le Bihan, Hervé & Sevestre, Patrick & Tarrieu, Sylvie, 2004. "Price rigidity. Evidence from the French CPI micro-data," Working Paper Series 0384, European Central Bank.
  15. Hoffmann, Johannes & Kurz-Kim, Jeong-Ryeol, 2006. "Consumer price adjustment under the microscope: Germany in a period of low inflation," Working Paper Series 0652, European Central Bank.
  16. Blinder, Alan S, 1991. "Why Are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 89-96, May.
  17. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2005. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does it Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 11043, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1983. "Optimum Pricing Policy under Stochastic Inflation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 513-29, July.
  19. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Thomas A. Eife, 2006. "Price setting behaviour and price setting regulations at the euro changeover," Bank of Estonia Working Papers 2006-06, Bank of Estonia, revised 12 Oct 2006.

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