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How Firms Construct Price Changes: Evidence from Restaurant Responses to Increased Minimum Wages

  • James M. MacDonald
  • Daniel Aaronson

We use price data underlying the Consumer Price Index to assess how restaurants, whose prices are generally quite sticky, respond to minimum wage increases. Aggregate prices rise, quickly, by amounts reflecting the increase in costs, and they rise more among fast food outlets and in low-wage locations. But restaurants do not construct price increases by raising all their prices by amounts reflecting the increase in wages. Instead, they raise only some prices, but by larger amounts. Prices at cluster points are less likely to be changed, and prices that were recently increased (decreased) are less (more) likely to be raised. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-8276.2006.00859.x
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Article provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 292-307

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:88:y:2006:i:2:p:292-307
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  1. 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.
  2. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2007. "Product Market Evidence on the Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 167-200.
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  7. V. Bhaskar & Ted To, 1996. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Labor and Demography 9603001, EconWPA, revised 21 May 1996.
  8. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French & James MacDonald, 2008. "The Minimum Wage, Restaurant Prices, and Labor Market Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 688-720.
  9. Anil K. Kashyap, 1991. "Sticky prices: new evidence from retail catalogs," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Bart Hobijn & Federico Ravenna & Andrea Tambalotti, 2004. "Menu costs at work: restaurant prices and the introduction of the euro," Staff Reports 195, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  13. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Staggering and Synchronization in Price-Setting: Evidence from Multiproduct Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1175-96, December.
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