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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, a large fraction of price changes are temporary. We provide a simple menu cost model which explicitly includes a motive for temporary price changes. We show that this simple model can account for the main regularities concerning temporary and permanent price changes. We use the model as a benchmark to evaluate existing shortcuts that do not explicitly model temporary price changes. One shortcut is to take the temporary changes out of the data and fit a simple Calvo model to it. If we do so prices change only every 50 weeks and the Calvo model overestimates the real effects of monetary shocks by almost 70%. A second shortcut is to leave the temporary changes in the data. If we do so prices change every 3 weeks and the Calvo model produces only 1/9 of the real effects of money as in our benchmark. We show that a simple Calvo model can generate the same real effects as our benchmark model if we set parameters so that prices change every 17 weeks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 661.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:661

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Keywords: Prices;

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  1. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  2. Sam Peltzman, 1998. "Prices Rise Faster Than They Fall," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 142, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. 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.
  4. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2003. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 15-37, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  7. Sobel, Joel, 1984. "The Timing of Sales," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 353-68, July.
  8. 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.
  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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