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The Distribution of the Size of Price Changes

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  • Alberto Cavallo
  • Roberto Rigobon

Abstract

Different theories of price stickiness have distinct implications on the number of modes in the distribution of price changes. We formally test for the number of modes in the price change distribution of 36 supermarkets, spanning 22 countries and 5 continents. We present results for three modality tests: the two best-known tests in the statistical literature, Hartigan’s Dip and Silverman’s Bandwidth, and a test designed in this paper, called the Proportional Mass test (PM). Three main results are uncovered. First, when the traditional tests are used, unimodality is rejected in about 90 percent of the retailers. When we used the PM test, which reduces the impact of smaller modes in the distribution and can be applied to test for modality around zero percent, we still reject unimodality in two thirds of the supermarkets. Second, category-level heterogeneity can account for about half of the PM test’s rejections of unimodality. Finally, a simulation of the model in Alvarez, Lippi, and Paciello (2010) shows that the data is consistent a combination of both time and state-dependent pricing behaviors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16760.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16760

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  1. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi & Luigi Paciello, 2010. "Optimal Price Setting with Observation and Menu Costs," EIEF Working Papers Series 1010, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised May 2010.
  2. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2005. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," Working Papers 05-4, Bank of Canada.
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  23. Daniel J. Henderson & Christopher F. Parmeter & R. Robert Russell, 2008. "Modes, weighted modes, and calibrated modes: evidence of clustering using modality tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 607-638.
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Cited by:
  1. Etienne Gagnon & David López-Salido & Nicolas Vincent, 2012. "Individual Price Adjustment along the Extensive Margin," NBER Working Papers 18213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi, 2014. "Price Setting With Menu Cost for Multiproduct Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 89-135, 01.
  3. Roberto Rigobon & Brent Neiman & Alberto Cavallo, 2013. "Product Introductions, Currency Unions, and the Real Exchange Rate," 2013 Meeting Papers 1357, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Martin Eichenbaum & Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo & Josephine Smith, 2014. "How Frequent Are Small Price Changes?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 137-55, April.
  5. Erwan Gautier & Ronan Le Saout, 2012. "The Dynamics of Gasoline Prices: Evidence from Daily French Micro Data," Working Papers hal-00759095, HAL.
  6. Ahrens, Steffen & Sacht, Stephen, 2011. "Estimating a high-frequency New Keynesian Phillips curve," Economics Working Papers 2011,08, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  7. Alberto Cavallo & Brent Neiman & Roberto Rigobon, 2012. "Currency Unions, Product Introductions, and the Real Exchange Rate," NBER Working Papers 18563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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