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Menu Costs at Work: Restaurant Prices and the Introduction of the Euro

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  • Bart Hobijn
  • Federico Ravenna
  • Andrea Tambalotti

Abstract

Restaurant prices in the euro area increased dramatically after the introduction of the euro. We show that this increase can be explained by a common menu cost model, extended to include a state-dependent decision of firms on when to adopt the new currency. Two mechanisms drive this result. First, firms concentrate otherwise staggered price increases around the changeover. Second, before the adoption of the euro, prices do not reflect the marginal cost increases expected to occur after the changeover. This "horizon effect" disappears as soon as the new currency is adopted, causing a jump in the optimal price.

Suggested Citation

  • Bart Hobijn & Federico Ravenna & Andrea Tambalotti, 2006. "Menu Costs at Work: Restaurant Prices and the Introduction of the Euro," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 1103-1131.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:3:p:1103-1131.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • L89 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Other

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