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How do individual UK consumer prices behave?

  • Bunn, Philip


    (Bank of England)

  • Ellis, Colin


    (BVCA and University of Birmingham)

This paper examines the behaviour of individual consumer prices in the United Kingdom, and uncovers a number of stylised facts about pricing behaviour. First, on average 19% of prices change each month, although this falls to 15% if sales are excluded. Second, the probability of price changes is not constant over time. Third, goods prices change more frequently than services prices. Fourth, the distribution of price changes is wide, although a significant number of changes are relatively small and close to zero. Fifth, prices that change more frequently tend to do so by less. We find that conventional pricing theories struggle to match these results, particularly the marked heterogeneity, which argues against the use of ‘representative agent’ models.

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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 438.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 31 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0438
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  1. 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.
  2. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
  3. Jean Boivin & Marc Giannoni & Ilian Mihov, 2007. "Sticky Prices and Monetary Policy: Evidence from Disaggregated U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 12824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Josef Baumgartner & Ernst Glatzer & Fabio Rumler & Alfred Stiglbauer, 2005. "How Frequently Do Consumer Prices Change in Austria? Evidence from Micro CPI Data," Working Papers 101, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  5. Mónica Dias & Daniel Dias & Pedro Duarte Neves, 2004. "Stylised Features of Price Setting Behaviour in Portugal: 1992-2001," Working Papers w200405, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  6. Bunn, Philip & Ellis, Colin, 2010. "How do individual UK producer prices behave?," Bank of England working papers 394, Bank of England.
  7. Álvarez, Luis J. & Burriel, Pablo & Hernando, Ignacio, 2005. "Do decreasing hazard functions for price changes make any sense?," Working Paper Series 0461, European Central Bank.
  8. Álvarez, Luis J. & Hernando, Ignacio, 2004. "Price setting behaviour in Spain: stylised facts using consumer price micro data," Working Paper Series 0416, European Central Bank.
  9. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2000. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," NBER Working Papers 7981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lünnemann, Patrick & Mathä, Thomas Y., 2005. "Consumer price behaviour in Luxembourg: evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 0541, European Central Bank.
  11. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
  12. Hoffmann, Johannes & Kurz-Kim, Jeong-Ryeol, 2006. "Consumer price adjustment under the microscope: Germany in a period of low inflation," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,16, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  13. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Alvarez & Herve Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lunnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Price Changes in the Euro Area and the United States: Some Facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 171-192, Spring.
  14. Felix Ritchie, 2008. "Secure access to confidential microdata: four years of the Virtual Microdata Laboratory," Economic and Labour Market Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 2(5), pages 29-34, May.
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