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Flexible reservation prices and price inflexibility

  • Gangopadhyay, Partha
  • Gangopadhyay, Renu

This paper studies conditions under which prices are sticky in a non-competitive market even though there is no menu cost associated with price changes. We posit that a typical seller encounters a series of repeat-buyers some of whom may revise their reservation prices (in an unknown fashion) if the seller changes the price offer. In this sense the reservation prices are pliable, or flexible. The seller fails to learn some of the changes in reservation prices from the market data instantaneously. As a result, a rational seller may find it profitable to adjust the price partially in order to collect more endogenous information about the unknown demand parameters. An incomplete price adjustment will thus turn out to be the optimal pricing strategy of a seller even if there is no explicit price adjustment cost, such as menu costs. Price rigidity, in the absence of explicit price adjustment costs (such as menu costs), can assume central importance in providing a theoretical salience to fix-price models and, thereby, explain persistence of unemployment.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

Volume (Year): 25 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 499-511

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:25:y:2008:i:3:p:499-511
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30411

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  1. Blinder, Alan S, 1991. "Why Are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 89-96, May.
  2. Jerzy D. Konieczny, 1994. "Menu Costs, Entry Deterrence, and Nominal Rigidity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(4), pages 827-46, November.
  3. Carlton, Dennis W, 1979. "Contracts, Price Rigidity, and Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 1034-62, October.
  4. Robert J. Gordon, 1981. "Output Fluctuations and Gradual Price Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 0621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Blinder, Alan S. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1984. "Aggregation and stabilization policy in a multi-contract economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 67-86, January.
  6. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1987. "Why Does Money Affect Output? A Survey," NBER Working Papers 2285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Barro, Robert J, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26, January.
  8. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  9. Rothschild, Michael, 1973. "Models of Market Organization with Imperfect Information: A Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(6), pages 1283-1308, Nov.-Dec..
  10. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  11. McCallum, Bennett T, 1989. " New Classical Macroeconomics: A Sympathetic Account," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(2), pages 223-52.
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