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Price Setting During Low and High Inflation: Evidence from Mexico

  • Etienne Gagnon

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.)

This paper provides new insight into the relationship between inflation and the setting of individual prices by examining a large data set of Mexican consumer prices covering episodes of both low and high inflation. When the annual rate of inflation is low (below 10%-15%), the frequency of price changes comoves weakly with inflation because movements in the frequency of price decreases and increases partly offset each other. In contrast, the average magnitude of price changes correlates strongly with inflation because it is sensitive to movements in the relative shares of price increases and decreases. When inflation rises beyond 10%-15%, few price decreases are observed and both the frequency and average magnitude are important determinants of inflation. I show that a menu-cost model with idiosyncratic technology shocks predicts the average frequency and magnitude of price changes well over a range of inflation similar to that experienced by Mexico. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1221-1263

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:3:p:1221-1263
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