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Regular adjustment: theory and evidence

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  • Konieczny, Jerzy (Jurek) D.
  • Rumler, Fabio

Abstract

We ask why, in many circumstances and many environments, decision-makers choose to act on a time-regular basis (e.g. adjust every six weeks) or on a stateregular basis (e.g. set prices ending in a 9), even though such an approach appears suboptimal. The paper attributes regular behaviour to adjustment cost heterogeneity. We show that, given the cost heterogeneity, the likelihood of adopting regular policies depends on the shape of the benefit function: the flatter it is, the more likely, ceteris paribus, is regular adjustment. We provide sufficient conditions under which, when policymakers differ with respect to the shape of the benefit function (as in Konieczny and Skrzypacz, 2006), the frequency of adjustments across markets is negatively correlated with the incidence of regular adjustments. On the other hand, if policymakers differences are due to the level of adjustment costs (as in Dotsey, King and Wolman, 1999), then the correlation is positive. To test the model we apply it to optimal pricing policies. We use a large Austrian data set, which consists of the direct price information collected by the statistical office and covers 80% of the CPI over eight years. We run cross-sectional tests, regressing the proportion of attractive prices and, separately, the excess proportion of price changes at the beginning of a year and at the beginning of a quarter, on various conditional frequencies of adjustment, inflation and its variability, dummies for good types, and other relevant variables. We find that the lower is, in a given market, the conditional frequency of price changes, the higher is the incidence of time- and state-regular adjustment. JEL Classification: E31, L11, E52, D01

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0669.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060669

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Keywords: attractive prices; menu costs; Optimal pricing;

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References

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  1. Baumgartner, Josef & Glatzer, Ernst & Rumler, Fabio & Stiglbauer, Alfred, 2005. "How frequently do consumer prices change in Austria? Evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 0523, European Central Bank.
  2. Owen, Ann & Trzepacz, David, 2002. "Menu costs, firm strategy, and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 345-349, August.
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  8. Dhyne, Emmanuel & Álvarez, Luis J. & Le Bihan, Hervé & Veronese, Giovanni & Dias, Daniel & Hoffmann, Johannes & Jonker, Nicole & Lünnemann, Patrick & Rumler, Fabio & Vilmunen, Jouko, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: some stylized facts from individual consumer price data," Working Paper Series 0524, European Central Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Daniel Levy & Dongwon Lee & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Robert J. Kauffman & Mark Bergen, 2010. "Price Points and Price Rigidity," Working Papers 2010-21, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  2. Loupias, Claire & Sevestre, Patrick, 2010. "Costs, demand, and producer price changes," Working Paper Series 1184, European Central Bank.
  3. Luis J. Alvarez, 2007. "What Do Micro Price Data Tell Us on the Validity of the New Keynesian Phillips Curve?," Kiel Working Papers 1330, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Hackl, Franz & Kummer, Michael E. & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2010. "99 cent: Price points in e-commerce," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-022, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Fabio Rumler & Alfred Stiglbauer & Josef Baumgartner, 2011. "Patterns and Determinants of Price Changes: Analysing Individual Consumer Prices in Austria," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(3), pages 336-350, 08.
  6. Mark J. Zbaracki, 2007. "A sociological view of costs of price adjustment: contributions from grounded theory methods," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 553-567.
  7. Jerzy D. Konieczny, 2006. "Discussion of: Lumpy Price Adjustments: A Microeconometric Analysis," Working Papers jk0035, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 1970.
  8. Emmanuel Dhyne & Jerzy Konieczny & Fabio Rumler & Patrick Sevestre, 2009. "Price rigidity in the euro area - An assessment," European Economy - Economic Papers 380, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

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