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Regular Adjustment. Theory and Evidence

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Author Info

  • Jerzy Konieczny
  • Fabio Rumler

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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1352.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1352

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Keywords: Optimal pricing; attractive prices; menu costs;

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References

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  1. Lünnemann, Patrick & Mathä, Thomas Y., 2005. "Consumer price behaviour in Luxembourg: evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 0541, European Central Bank.
  2. Daniel Levy & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Georg Müller & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2010. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 172-198, 01.
  3. Álvarez, L. & Dias, D. & Dhyne, E. & Hoffmann, J. & Jonker, N. & Le Bihan, H. & Lünnemann, P. & Rumler, F. & Veronese, G. & Vilmunen, J., 2005. "Price Setting in the Euro Area: Some Stylized Facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Working papers 136, Banque de France.
  4. Levy, Daniel & Dutta, Shantanu & Bergen, Mark, 2002. "Heterogeneity in Price Rigidity: Evidence from a Case Study Using Microlevel Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 197-220, February.
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  6. Dias, Daniel & Robalo Marques, Carlos & Santos Silva, João M. C., 2005. "Time or state dependent price setting rules? Evidence from Portuguese micro data," Working Paper Series 0511, European Central Bank.
  7. 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.
  8. Caplin, A. & Leahy, J., 1989. "State-Dependent Pricing And The Dynamics Of Money And Output," Discussion Papers 1989_32, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  9. Fisher, Timothy C. G. & Konieczny, Jerzy D., 2000. "Synchronization of price changes by multiproduct firms: evidence from Canadian newspaper prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 271-277, September.
  10. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
  11. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. 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.
  14. Etienne Gagnon, 2009. "Price Setting During Low and High Inflation: Evidence from Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1221-1263, August.
  15. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2011. "Fair Pricing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 952-981, October.
  16. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing And The General Equilibrium Dynamics Of Money And Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690, May.
  17. Owen, Ann & Trzepacz, David, 2002. "Menu costs, firm strategy, and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 345-349, August.
  18. Basu, Kaushik, 1997. "Why are so many goods priced to end in nine? And why this practice hurts the producers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 41-44, January.
  19. Álvarez, Luis J. & Hernando, Ignacio, 2004. "Price setting behaviour in Spain: stylised facts using consumer price micro data," Working Paper Series 0416, European Central Bank.
  20. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Customer Anger at Price Increases, Time Variation in the Frequency of Price Changes and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Luc Aucremanne & Emmanuel Dhyne, 2004. "How frequently do prices change? Evidence based on the micro data underlying the Belgian CPI," Working Paper Research 44, National Bank of Belgium.
  22. Hoffmann, Johannes & Kurz-Kim, Jeong-Ryeol, 2006. "Consumer price adjustment under the microscope: Germany in a period of low inflation," Working Paper Series 0652, European Central Bank.
  23. Alexander L. Wolman, 2000. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustments," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 1-22.
  24. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Daniel Levy & Dongwon Lee & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Robert J. Kauffman & Mark Bergen, 2010. "Price Points and Price Rigidity," Emory Economics 1008, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  4. Franz Hackl & Michael E. Kummer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2010. "99 cent: Price Points in E-Commerce," Economics working papers 2010-02, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  5. Luis J. Álvarez, 2007. "What do micro price data tell us on the validity of the New Keynesian Phillips Curve?," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0728, Banco de Espa�a.
  6. Loupias, Claire & Sevestre, Patrick, 2010. "Costs, demand, and producer price changes," Working Paper Series 1184, European Central Bank.
  7. 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.
  8. Jerzy D. Konieczny, 2006. "Discussion of: Lumpy Price Adjustments: A Microeconometric Analysis," Working Papers jk0035, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 1970.

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