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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 booksellers-Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com-and find strong evidence that nominal price rigidities do indeed persist on the Internet. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/mde.1374
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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
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/7976

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    1. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Macroeconomics 0402020, EconWPA.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Anil K. Kashyap, 1990. "Sticky prices: new evidence from retail catalogs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 112, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. 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.
    10. Gordon, Robert J, 1990. "What Is New-Keynesian Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1115-71, September.
    11. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Robert Venable, 2005. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Macroeconomics 0505007, EconWPA.
    12. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
    13. Saul Lach & Daniel Tsiddon, 1994. "Staggering and Synchronization in Price-Setting: Evidence from Multipro-duct Firms," NBER Working Papers 4759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
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