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Micro Foundations of Price-Setting Behaviour: Evidence from Canadian Firms

  • Daniel de Munnik
  • Kuan Xu

How do firms adjust prices in the marketplace? Do they tend to adjust prices infrequently in response to changes in market conditions? If so, why? These remain key questions in macroeconomics, particularly for central banks that work to keep inflation low and stable. The authors use the Bank of Canada's 2002-03 price-setting survey data to investigate Canadian firms' price-setting behaviour; they also analyze the micro foundations for the firms' pricing behaviour using count data and probit models. The authors find that, all else being equal, firms tend to adjust prices more frequently if they are state-dependent price-setters, operate in the trade sector, or have large variable costs or more direct competitors. There are various sticky-price theories; in the Bank's price-setting survey, the senior management of firms were read a simple statement in non-technical language that paraphrased each sticky-price theory, and were then asked whether the statement applied to their firm. The most frequently recognized sticky-price theories are customer relations, cost-based pricing, and coordination failure. The authors' analysis indicates that if firms recognize coordination failure on price increases, sticky information, menu costs, factor stability, or customer relations as being important, they tend to adjust prices less frequently. The authors also find that the patterns discernible within firms' recognition of stickyprice theories are strongly associated with firms' micro foundations.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Staff Working Papers with number 07-31.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:07-31
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  1. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
  2. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  3. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2001. "Micro Foundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Working Paper Series 128, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  4. Monica Martin & Cristiano Papile, 2004. "The Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey: An Assessment," Staff Working Papers 04-15, Bank of Canada.
  5. Owen, Ann & Trzepacz, David, 2002. "Menu costs, firm strategy, and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 345-349, August.
  6. Buckle, Robert A. & Carlson, John A., 2000. "Menu costs, firm size and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 59-63, January.
  7. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2005. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," Staff Working Papers 05-4, Bank of Canada.
  8. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Álvarez & Hervé Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lünnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: Some stylized facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Working Papers w200506, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  9. Gordon, Robert J, 1981. "Output Fluctuations and Gradual Price Adjustment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 493-530, June.
  10. Robert Amano & Steve Ambler & Nooman Rebei, 2006. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Non-Zero Trend Inflation," Staff Working Papers 06-34, Bank of Canada.
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  14. S. Fabiani & M. Druant & I. Hernando & C. Kwapil & B. Landau & C. Loupias & Fernando Martins & T. Mathä & R. Sabbatini & H. Stahl & A. Stokman, 2005. "The Pricing Behaviour of Firms in the Euro Area: New Survey Evidence," Working Papers w200510, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  15. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information: A Model of Monetary Nonneutrality and Structural Slumps," NBER Working Papers 8614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Silvia Fabiani & Martine Druant & Ignacio Hernando & Claudia Kwapil & Bettina Landau & Claire Loupias & Fernando Martins & Thomas Mathä & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Ad Stokman, 2006. "What Firms' Surveys Tell Us about Price-Setting Behavior in the Euro Area," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(3), September.
  17. 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.
  18. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Sticky Prices as Coordination Failure," NBER Working Papers 2327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dennis W. Carlton, 1986. "The Theory and the Facts of How Markets Clear: Is Industrial Organization Valuable for Understanding Macroeconomics?," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 44, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  20. Alexander L. Wolman, 2000. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustments," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 1-22.
  21. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Customer Anger at Price Increases, Time Variation in the Frequency of Price Changes and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Robert J. Barro, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26.
  23. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
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