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Temporary price changes and the real effects of monetary policy

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  • Patrick J. Kehoe
  • Virgiliu Midrigan

Abstract

In the data, prices change both temporarily and permanently. Standard Calvo models focus on permanent price changes and take one of two shortcuts when confronted with the data: drop temporary changes from the data or leave them in and treat them as permanent. We provide a menu cost model that includes motives for both types of price changes. Since this model accounts for the main regularities of price changes, its predictions for the real effects of monetary policy shocks are useful benchmarks against which to judge existing shortcuts. We find that neither shortcut comes close to these benchmarks. For monetary policy analysis, researchers should use a menu cost model like ours or at least a third, theory-based shortcut: set the Calvo model's parameters so that it generates the same real effects from monetary shocks as does the bench-mark menu cost model. Following either suggestion will improve monetary policy analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 413.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:413

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Keywords: Keynesian economics ; Prices;

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  1. Mikhail Golosov & Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2007. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 171-199.
  2. Peter E. Rossi & Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap, 2002. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm291, Yale School of Management.
  3. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  4. Sobel, Joel, 1984. "The Timing of Sales," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 353-68, July.
  5. 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.
  6. Sam Peltzman, 2000. "Prices Rise Faster than They Fall," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 466-502, June.
  7. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  8. Mark Gertler & John Leahy, 2006. "A Phillips curve with an Ss foundation," Working Papers 06-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. 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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