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The roles of price points and menu costs in price rigidity

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  • Edward S. Knotek II

Abstract

Macroeconomic models often generate nominal price rigidity via menu costs. This paper provides empirical evidence that treating menu costs as a structural explanation for sticky prices may be spurious. Using supermarket scanner data, I note two empirical facts: (1) price points, embodied in nine-ending prices, account for more than 60 percent of prices; (2) at the conclusion of sales, post-sale prices return to their pre-sale levels nearly 90 percent of the time. I construct a model that nests roles for menu costs and price points and estimate model variants via simulated method of moments. Excluding the two facts yields a statistically and economically significant role for menu costs in generating price rigidity. Incorporating the two facts yields an incentive to set nine-ending prices two orders of magnitude larger than the menu costs in this model. In this setting, the price point model can match the two stylized facts, but menu costs are effectively irrelevant as a source of price rigidity. The choice of a mechanism for price rigidity matters for aggregate dynamics.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 10-18.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp10-18

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References

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  1. Mikhail Golosov & Robert E. Lucas, 2003. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," NBER Working Papers 10187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2007. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," Discussion Papers 07-007, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Edward S. Knotek, 2011. "Convenient Prices and Price Rigidity: Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1076-1086, August.
  4. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Alvarez & Herve Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lunnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Price Changes in the Euro Area and the United States: Some Facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 171-192, Spring.
  5. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2008. "Temporary price changes and the real effects of monetary policy," Working Papers 661, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2003. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Working Papers 2003-07, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mark Gertler & John Leahy, 2008. "A Phillips Curve with an Ss Foundation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 533-572, 06.
  10. Edward S. Knotek II, 2005. "Convenient prices, currency, and nominal rigidity : theory with evidence from newspaper prices," Research Working Paper RWP 05-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  11. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
  12. 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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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Price points, good diversity and price rigidity
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-02-17 15:17:00
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Cited by:
  1. Gautier, E. & Le Saout, R., 2012. "The Dynamics of Gasoline Prices: Evidence from Daily French Micro Data," Working papers 375, Banque de France.

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