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How Frequent Are Small Price Changes?

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Eichenbaum
  • Nir Jaimovich
  • Sergio Rebelo
  • Josephine Smith

Abstract

Recent empirical work suggests that small price changes are relatively common. This evidence has been used to criticize classic menu-cost models. In this paper, we use scanner data from a national supermarket chain and micro data from the Consumer Price Index to reassess the importance of small price changes. We argue that the vast majority of these changes are due to measurement error. We conclude that the evidence on the prevalence of small price changes is much too weak to be used as a litmus test of nominal rigidity models.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 137-155, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:137-55
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.6.2.137
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2008. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does it Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 863-904.
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    3. Christian Hellwig & Ariel Burstein, 2007. "Prices and Market Shares in a Menu Cost Model," 2007 Meeting Papers 327, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Mikhail Golosov & Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2007. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 171-199.
    5. Ben Eden & Jeff Campbell, 2004. "Rigid Prices: Evidence from US scanner data," 2004 Meeting Papers 461, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Anil K Kashyap, 1995. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 245-274.
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    9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
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    11. Woodford, Michael, 2009. "Information-constrained state-dependent pricing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(S), pages 100-124.
    12. Alberto Cavallo & Roberto Rigobon, 2011. "The Distribution of the Size of Price Changes," NBER Working Papers 16760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi, 2014. "Price Setting With Menu Cost for Multiproduct Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 89-135, January.
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    27. 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 137-155, April.
    28. Eichenbaum, Martin & Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2008. "Reference Prices and Nominal Rigidities," CEPR Discussion Papers 6709, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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