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Stable price level and changing prices

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Author Info

  • Suvanto , Antti

    ()
    (Bank of Finland)

  • Hukkinen , Juhana

    ()
    (Bank of Finland)

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    Abstract

    The paper investigates the relationship between relative price movements and changes in the aggregate price level using monthly data on Finland’s Consumer Price Index and its components from the period covering the past eight and a half years. This was a period of very low inflation. The rate of growth in the aggregate price level was occasionally very close to zero. The paper shows that declining nominal prices were a rather common phenomenon during this period of low or no inflation. The declining prices cannot, however, be explained by lack of demand or any generalized deflationary tendencies. Hence, the downward rigidity of nominal prices has not prevented relative price adjustments under price stability. The paper develops a new method for looking at the composition of inflation and illustrating how relative price dynamics interact with changes in the aggregate price level. The correlation of relative price variability and aggregate inflation has been negligible, but the correlation between the skewness of price change distribution and aggregate inflation is high. This is in accordance with the predictions of the menu cost models. A significant proportion of the relative price changes appear to have been persistent, suggesting the dominance of productivity and other supply shocks.

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    File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/julkaisut/tutkimukset/keskustelualoitteet/Documents/0428.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 28/2004.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: 13 Oct 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2004_028

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
    Web page: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: price level; inflation; deflation; prices; business cycles;

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    References

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    1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
    2. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1999. "Inflation And The Distribution Of Price Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 188-196, May.
    3. Vining, Daniel R, Jr & Elwertowski, Thomas C, 1976. "The Relationship between Relative Prices and the General Price Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 699-708, September.
    4. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
    5. Domberger, Simon, 1987. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation: A Disaggregated Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 547-66, June.
    6. Parsley, David C, 1996. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability in the Short and Long Run: New Evidence from the United States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 323-41, August.
    7. Ball, L. & Mankiw, G.H., 1992. "Relative-Price Change as Aggregate Supply Shocks," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1609, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
    9. Randal J. Verbrugge, 1999. "Cross-Sectional Inflation Asymmetries And Core Inflation: A Comment On Bryan And Cecchetti," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 199-202, May.
    10. Stanley Fischer, 1981. "Relative Shocks, Relative Price Variability, and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 381-442.
    11. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Erica L. Groshen, 2000. "Understanding Inflation: Implications for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 7482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1999. "Interpreting the Correlation Between Inflation and the Skewness of Relative Prices: A Comment on Bryan and Cecchetti," Scholarly Articles 3415439, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    13. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
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