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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 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. Dhyne, Emmanuel & Álvarez, Luis J. & Le Bihan, Hervé & Veronese, Giovanni & Dias, Daniel & Hoffmann, Johannes & Jonker, Nicole & Lünnemann, Patrick & Rumler, Fabio & Vilmunen, Jouko, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: some stylized facts from individual consumer price data," Working Paper Series 0524, European Central Bank.
  2. Fabiani, Silvia & Druant, Martine & Hernando, Ignacio & Kwapil, Claudia & Landau, Bettina & Loupias, Claire & Martins, Fernando & Mathä, Thomas Y. & Sabbatini, Roberto & Stahl, Harald & Stokman, Ad C., 2005. "The pricing behaviour of firms in the euro area: new survey evidence," Working Paper Series 0535, European Central Bank.
  3. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter For Recent U.S. Inflation?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 277, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Apel, Mikael & Friberg, Richard & Hallsten, Kerstin, 2005. "Microfoundations of Macroeconomic Price Adjustment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 313-38, April.
  7. Carlton, Dennis W., 1989. "The theory and the facts of how markets clear: Is industrial organization valuable for understanding macroeconomics?," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 909-946 Elsevier.
  8. Monica Martin & Cristiano Papile, 2004. "The Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey: An Assessment," Working Papers 04-15, Bank of Canada.
  9. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  10. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Buckle, Robert A. & Carlson, John A., 2000. "Menu costs, firm size and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 59-63, January.
  12. Robert J. Gordon, 1981. "Output Fluctuations and Gradual Price Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 0621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  14. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1991. "Sticky Prices as Coordination Failure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 539-52, June.
  15. Owen, Ann & Trzepacz, David, 2002. "Menu costs, firm strategy, and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 345-349, August.
  16. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information: A Model of Monetary Nonneutrality and Structural Slumps," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1941, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Alexander L. Wolman, 2007. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustment," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(6), pages 531-552.
  18. Engel, Charles, 1993. "Real exchange rates and relative prices : An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 35-50, August.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Robert Amano & Steve Ambler & Nooman Rebei, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Nonzero Trend Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1821-1838, October.
  22. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  23. Barro, Robert J, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26, January.
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