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Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment

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  • Daniel Levy

    () (Department of Economics, Bar Ilan University)

  • Georg Müller

    (Litholink Corporation)

  • Shantanu Dutta

    (University of Southern California)

  • Mark Bergen

    (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

Using unique retail and wholesale price data for 4,532 products carried by a major Mid-western grocery retailer, we find evidence of significant retail price rigidity during the Thanksgiving through Christmas holiday period relative to the rest of the year. We suggest that this pattern of holiday retail price rigidity is best explained by an increased opportunity cost of changing prices at these stores during the holiday period. Evidence based on discussions with retail managers suggests that during holidays the physical, managerial, and customer costs of changing prices rise considerably. Due to higher store traffic, performing tasks such as restocking shelves, handling customers’ questions and inquiries, running cash registers, cleaning, and bagging, become more urgent during holidays and thus receive priority. As a result, the holiday-period opportunity cost of price adjustment increases dramatically for the stores. The data provide a natural experimental setting to study variation in price rigidity because the products, stores, and surrounding institutional features and arrangements, including the market structure, the contractual arrangements, and the nature of relationships, etc., do not change between holiday and non-holiday weeks.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Levy & Georg Müller & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2002. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Working Papers 2002-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2002-03
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Levy & Dongwon Lee & Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Robert J. Kauffman & Mark Bergen, 2011. "Price Points and Price Rigidity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1417-1431, November.
    2. J. Konieczny, A. Skrzpacz, 2006. "Search, Costly Price Adjustment and the Frequency of Price Changes - Theory and Evidence," Working Papers eg0054, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 2006.
    3. Adi Schnytzer & Guy Weinberg, 2011. "Testing for Home Team and Favorite Biases in the Australian Rules Football Fixed Odds and Point Spread Betting Markets," Working Papers 2011-13, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    4. Georg Muller & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2006. "Private label price rigidity during holiday periods," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 57-62.
    5. Avichai Snir & Daniel Levy & Alex Gotler & Haipeng (Allan) Chen, 2012. "Not All Price Endings Are Created Equal: Price Points and Asymmetric Price Rigidity," Working Paper series 69_12, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    6. Avichai Snir & Daniel Levy, 2011. "Shrinking Goods and Sticky Prices: Theory and Evidence," Working Paper series 17_11, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    7. Adi Schnytzer & Sara Westreich, 2011. "Information and Attitudes to Risk at the Track," Working Papers 2011-16, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    8. Daniel Levy, 2007. "Price rigidity and flexibility: new empirical evidence," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 639-647.
    9. Georg Mueller & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2006. "Holiday Nonprice Rigidity and Cost of Adjustment," Emory Economics 0612, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    10. Gil S. Epstein & Alessandra Venturini, 2011. "The Impact of Worker Effort on Public Sentiment Towards Temporary Migrants," Development Working Papers 310, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 09 May 2011.
    11. Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Sourav Ray & Paul H. Rubin & Benjamin Zeliger, 2008. "When Little Things Mean a Lot: On the Inefficiency of Item-Pricing Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 209-250, May.
    12. Adi Schnytzer & Barbara Luppi, 2008. "Painful Regret and Elation at the Track," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 2(3), pages 85-99, December.
    13. Ellingsen, Tore & Friberg, Richard & Hassler, John, 2006. "Menu Costs and Asymmetric Price Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5749, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Iqbal A. Syed, 2015. "Sales Spotter: An Algorithm to Identify Sale Prices in Point-of-Sale Data," Discussion Papers 2015-13, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    15. Laura Birg & Anna Goeddeke, 2016. "Christmas Economics—A Sleigh Ride," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1980-1984, October.
    16. Matthias R. Fengler & Joachim K. Winter, 2007. "Price variability and price dispersion in a stable monetary environment: evidence from German retail markets," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 789-801.
    17. J. Konieczny, F. Rumler, 2006. "Regular Adjustment - Theory and Evidenc," Working Papers eg0055, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics, revised 2006.
    18. 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.
    19. Urbatsch, R., 2013. "Employment effects of Thanksgiving timing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 42-44.
    20. Georg Müller & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Daniel Levy, 2007. "Non-price rigidity and cost of adjustment," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 817-832.
    21. Stephen E. Spear & Warren Young, 2011. "MD Dialog on: Optimum Savings and Optimal Growth: the Cass-Malinvaud-Koopmans Nexus," Working Papers 2011-22, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
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    23. Dossche, Maarten & Cornille, David, 2006. "The patterns and determinants of price setting in the Belgian industry," Working Paper Series 618, European Central Bank.
    24. Adi Schnytzer & Janez Šušteršič, 2011. "The Regression Tournament: A Novel Approach to Prediction Model Assessment," Working Papers 2011-10, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    25. Luminita Stevens, 2011. "Pricing Regimes in Disaggregated Data," 2011 Meeting Papers 1389, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    price rigidity; costs of price adjustment; holidays;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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