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Price Rigidity, Inflation and the Distribution of Relative Price Changes

Author

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  • Sartaj Rasool Rather
  • S. Raja Sethu Durai
  • M. Ramachandran

Abstract

This study examines whether skewness of the cross-sectional distribution of relative price changes is positively associated with aggregate inflation as predicted by the menu cost model of Ball and Mankiw (1994, 1995). Further, the study examines the size and frequency of price changes across various commodities and the distribution of relative price changes. The results from highly disaggregated Indian wholesale price index (WPI) data suggest that the skewness of relative price changes explains a significant proportion of short-run fluctuations in aggregate inflation. More importantly, the results indicate that the average size of price increases is greater than the size of price decreases implying downwards rigidity in the prices of various commodities. JEL Classification: E30, E31, E52

Suggested Citation

  • Sartaj Rasool Rather & S. Raja Sethu Durai & M. Ramachandran, 2015. "Price Rigidity, Inflation and the Distribution of Relative Price Changes," South Asian Journal of Macroeconomics and Public Finance, , vol. 4(2), pages 258-287, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:smppub:v:4:y:2015:i:2:p:258-287
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Amano & Tiff Macklem, 1997. "Menu Costs, Relative Prices, and Inflation: Evidence for Canada," Staff Working Papers 97-14, Bank of Canada.
    2. Hiranya Nath, 2004. "Relative importance of sectoral and aggregate sources of price changes," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(16), pages 1781-1796.
    3. Caraballo Pou, M. Angeles & Dabus, Carlos, 2008. "Nominal rigidities, skewness and inflation regimes," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 16-33, March.
    4. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1994. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 247-261, March.
    5. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-193.
    6. A. Nazif Çatik & Christopher Martin & A. Özlem Onder, 2011. "Relative price variability and the Phillips Curve: evidence from Turkey," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(5), pages 546-561, September.
    7. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1999. "Inflation And The Distribution Of Price Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 188-196, May.
    8. Phelps, Edmund S, 1978. "Commodity-Supply Shock and Full-Employment Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 206-221, May.
    9. M. Angeles Caraballo & Carlos Usabiaga, 2009. "The relevance of supply shocks for inflation: the spanish case," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(6), pages 753-764.
    10. Vining, Daniel R, Jr & Elwertowski, Thomas C, 1976. "The Relationship between Relative Prices and the General Price Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 699-708, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation; skewness; relative price changes; menu cost;

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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