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A Search Theory of Rigid Prices

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Author Info

  • Guido Menzio

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

In this paper, I build a model marketplace populated by a finite number of sellers – each producing its own variety of the good – and a continuum of buyers–each searching for a variety he likes. Using the model, I study the response of a seller’s price to privately observed fluctuations in its idiosyncratic production cost. I find that the qualitative properties of this response critically depend on the persistence of the production cost. In particular, if the cost is i.i.d., the seller’s price does not respond at all. If the cost is somewhat persistent, the seller’s price responds slowly and incompletely. If the cost is very persistent, the seller’s price adjusts instantaneously and efficiently to all fluctuations in productivity. I argue that these findings can explain why the monthly frequency of a price change is so much lower for processed than for raw goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 07-031.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:07-031

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Keywords: Search Frictions; Asymmetric Information; Rigid Prices; Sticky Prices;

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References

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  1. Fishman, Arthur & Rob, Rafael, 1995. "The Durability of Information, Market Efficiency and the Size of Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 19-36, February.
  2. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349, 04.
  3. 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.
  4. Robert Lucas & Mike Golosov, 2004. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," 2004 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  7. Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Markets with Consumer Switching Costs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 375-94, May.
  8. Ana Fernandes & Christopher Phelan, 1999. "A recursive formulation for repeated agency with history dependence," Staff Report 259, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
  10. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
  11. Beggs, Alan & Klemperer, Paul, 1990. "Multi-Period Competition with Switching Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Melvyn G. Coles, 2001. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion, Firm Size and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 159-187, January.
  13. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  14. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  15. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Luís Cabral & Arthur Fishman, 2011. "Business as Usual: A Consumer Search Theory of Sticky Prices and Asymmetric Price Adjustment," Working Papers 2011-01, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  2. Chris Edmond & Laura Veldkamp, 2006. "Income dispersion, asymmetric information and fluctuations in market efficiency," 2006 Meeting Papers 717, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Leena Rudanko & Francois Gourio, 2010. "Customer Capital," 2010 Meeting Papers 121, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Luigi Paciello & Andrea Pozzi & Nicholas Trachter, 2013. "Price Setting with Customer Retention," EIEF Working Papers Series 1328, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Nov 2013.
  5. Edmond, Chris & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009. "Income dispersion and counter-cyclical markups," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 791-804, September.
  6. David M. Arseneau & Sanjay K. Chugh, 2007. "Bargaining, fairness, and price rigidity in a DSGE environment," International Finance Discussion Papers 900, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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