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The mechanics of price adjustment: new evidence on the (un)importance of menu costs

  • Rajesh Chakrabarti

    (Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, India)

  • Barry Scholnick

    (University of Alberta, Canada)

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    This paper examines nominal price rigidities in an environment, e-commerce, where literal menu costs can be assumed not to exist. We argue that if we can empirically show that nominal rigidities do still exist in the e-commerce environment, then it implies that other kinds of costs besides menu costs, such as management costs, must be causing these nominal rigidities. This evidence is of importance because of the central role that menu costs play in Keynesian macroeconomics. In this paper we examine the price changing behavior of two leading online and find strong evidence that nominal price rigidities do indeed persist on the Internet. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Managerial and Decision Economics.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 657-668

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:28:y:2007:i:7:p:657-668
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    1. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Anil K. Kashyap, 1991. "Sticky prices: new evidence from retail catalogs," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. 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.
    4. Robert J. Kauffman & Charles A. Wood, 2007. "Follow the leader: price change timing in Internet-based selling," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 679-700.
    5. 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.
    6. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2003. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Working Papers 2003-07, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    7. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
    8. Saul Lach & Daniel Tsiddon, 2007. "Small price changes and menu costs," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 649-656.
    9. Fisher, Timothy C. G. & Konieczny, Jerzy D., 2000. "Synchronization of price changes by multiproduct firms: evidence from Canadian newspaper prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 271-277, September.
    10. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1992. "Staggered and Synchronized Price Policies under Inflation: The Multiproduct Monopoly Case," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 331-59, April.
    11. Levy, Daniel, et al, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-825, August.
    12. Dutta, Shantanu, et al, 1999. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 683-703, November.
    13. Gordon, Robert J, 1990. "What Is New-Keynesian Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1115-71, September.
    14. Fisher, Timothy C. G. & Konieczny, Jerzy D., 2006. "Inflation and Costly Price Adjustment: A Study of Canadian Newspaper Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 615-633, April.
    15. Chakrabarti, Rajesh & Scholnick, Barry, 2005. "Nominal rigidities without literal menu costs: evidence from E-commerce," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 187-191, February.
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