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The Price Setting Behaviour of Portuguese Firms Evidence From Survey Data

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  • Fernando Martins

Abstract

This paper analyses the results of a survey conducted by the Banco de Portugal between May and September 2004 on a sample of 1370 Portuguese firms with the main purpose of investigating their price setting behaviour. The evidence points to the presence of a considerable degree of price stickiness: most firms do not review or change their prices more than once a year; time lags in price reactions to cost and demand shocks were found to be significant; and slightly more than half of the firms follow time-dependent price reviewing, though only one-third stick to this practice after the occurrence of specific shocks. The degree of price stickiness seems to be higher in services than in manufacturing. The presence of implicit contracts between firms and their customers under which the former pledge to stabilise their prices as a way to increase customers’ loyalty is apparently the main reason that prevents firms from changing their prices more promptly. Other relevant sources of price stickiness were also found: coordination problems arising from the preference of firms not to change their prices unless their competitors do so, the constraint imposed by a high proportion of fixed costs, marginal costs that vary little when costs are an important determinant in firms’ pricing decisions or the presence of formal contracts that are costly to renegotiate. In contrast, alternative explanations such as the existence of menu costs, the preference of firms to quote their prices according to certain thresholds and the costs of collecting the relevant information for pricing decisions were not considered very important.

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Paper provided by Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department in its series Working Papers with number w200604.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ptu:wpaper:w200604

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  1. Aucremanne, Luc & Druant, Martine, 2005. "Price-setting behaviour in Belgium: what can be learned from an ad hoc survey?," Working Paper Series 0448, European Central Bank.
  2. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C, 1997. "The (Un)Importance of Forward-Looking Behavior in Price Specifications," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 338-50, August.
  3. Luis J. �lvarez & Pablo Burriel & Ignacio Hernando, 2010. "Price-setting behaviour in Spain: evidence from micro PPI data," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2-3), pages 105-121.
  4. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2001. "Micro Foundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Working Paper Series 128, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
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  7. Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Econometric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stahl, Harald, 2005. "Price setting in German manufacturing: new evidence from new survey data," Working Paper Series 0561, European Central Bank.
  9. Kwapil, Claudia & Baumgartner, Josef & Scharler, Johann, 2005. "The price-setting behavior of Austrian firms: some survey evidence," Working Paper Series 0464, European Central Bank.
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  11. Álvarez, Luis J. & Hernando, Ignacio, 2005. "The price setting behaviour of Spanish firms: evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0538, European Central Bank.
  12. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Dhyne, Emmanuel & Álvarez, Luis J. & Le Bihan, Hervé & Veronese, Giovanni & Dias, Daniel & Hoffmann, Johannes & Jonker, Nicole & Lünnemann, Patrick & Rumler, Fabio & Vilmunen, Jouko, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: some stylized facts from individual consumer price data," Working Paper Series 0524, European Central Bank.
  14. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  15. Loupias, Claire & Ricart, Roland, 2004. "Price setting in France: new evidence from survey data," Working Paper Series 0423, European Central Bank.
  16. Hall, Simon & Walsh, Mark & Yates, Anthony, 2000. "Are UK Companies' Prices Sticky?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 425-46, July.
  17. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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