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How frequently do prices change? Evidence based on the micro data underlying the Belgian CPI

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  • Aucremanne, Luc
  • Dhyne, Emmanuel

Abstract

This paper examines the degree of price rigidity in Belgian consumer prices, using a large database. As to the observed degree of rigidity, the results reveal a substantial amount of heterogeneity, not only across but also within product categories. While prices turn out to be perfectly flexible for some product categories, they tend to be very sticky for others. Each month, nearly 17 p.c. of the consumer prices change on average and the median duration of a price spell is close to 13 months. A substantial subset of our results is compatible with state-dependent pricing, while other results suggest that some timedependency exists as well. The majority of price changes are price increases, but price decreases are not uncommon, except for services. The size of price changes is important. Price changes do not seem to be highly synchronised across price-setters within relatively homogenous product categories. JEL Classification: D21, D40, E31

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0331.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20040331

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Keywords: consumer prices; price rigidity; staggered pricing; state-dependent pricing; time-dependent pricing;

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  1. Anil K Kashyap, 1994. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," NBER Working Papers 4855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Laurent Baudry & Hervé Le Bihan & Patrick Sevestre & Sylvie Tarrieu, 2005. "La rigidité des prix en France : quelques enseignements des relevés de prix à la consommation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 386(1), pages 37-57.
  3. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
  4. Carlton, Dennis W, 1986. "The Rigidity of Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 637-58, September.
  5. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
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  7. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Staggering and Synchronization in Price-Setting: Evidence from Multiproduct Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1175-96, December.
  8. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 1985. "Staggered Contracts and the Frequency of Price Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 935-59, Supp..
  9. Buckle, Robert A. & Carlson, John A., 2000. "Menu costs, firm size and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 59-63, January.
  10. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  11. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-89, April.
  12. Aucremanne, L., 2000. "The Use of Robust Estimators as Measures of Core Inflation," Papers 2, Warwick - Development Economics Research Centre.
  13. Aucremanne, L. & Cornille, D., 2001. "Attractive Prices and Euro-Rounding Effects on Inflation," Papers 17, Warwick - Development Economics Research Centre.
  14. Jerzy D. Konieczny & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2000. "Inflation and Price Setting in a Natural Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1132, Econometric Society.
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