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The Cyclicality of Sales, Regular and Effective Prices: Business Cycle and Policy Implications

Listed author(s):
  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko
  • Gee Hee Hong

We study the cyclical properties of sales, regular price changes, and average prices paid by consumers ("effective" prices) using data on prices and quantities sold for numerous retailers across many US metropolitan areas. Inflation in the effective prices paid by consumers declines significantly with higher unemployment while little change occurs in the inflation rate of prices posted by retailers. This difference reflects the reallocation of household expenditures across retailers, a feature of the data which we document and quantify, rather than sales. We propose a simple model with household store-switching and assess its implications for business cycles and policymakers. (JEL D12, E31, E32, L25, L81)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 105 (2015)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 993-1029

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:3:p:993-1029
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20121546
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  3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation:An Alternative Interpretation," Working Papers 94, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
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  16. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Monetary Policy When Potential Output is Uncertain: Understanding the Growth Gamble of the 1990s," NBER Working Papers 12268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Robert C. Feenstra & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2003. "Introduction to "Scanner Data and Price Indexes"," NBER Chapters, in: Scanner Data and Price Indexes, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. W. Erwin Diewert & John S. Greenlees & Charles R. Hulten, 2009. "Price Index Concepts and Measurement," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number diew08-1, September.
  19. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2010. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models," Working Papers 91, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  20. 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.
  21. Cleeren, Kathleen & Dekimpe, Marnik G. & Gielens, Katrijn & Verboven, Frank, 2008. "Intra- and Inter-Format Competition Among Discounters and Supermarkets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6964, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  24. Edward S. Knotek & II, 2007. "How useful is Okun's law?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 73-103.
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