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Reference Prices and Nominal Rigidities

  • Eichenbaum, Martin
  • Jaimovich, Nir
  • Rebelo, Sérgio

We assess the importance of nominal rigidities using a new weekly scanner data set from a major U.S. retailer, that contains information on prices, quantities, and costs for over 1,000 stores. We find that nominal rigidities are important but do not take the form of sticky prices. Instead, nominal rigidities take the form of inertia in reference prices and costs, defined as the most common prices and costs within a given quarter. Weekly prices and costs fluctuate around reference values which tend to remain constant over extended periods of time. Reference prices are particularly inertial and have an average duration of roughly one year. So, nominal rigidities are present in our data, even though weekly prices change very frequently, roughly once every two weeks. We argue that the retailer chooses the frequency with which it resets references prices so as to keep the realized markups within plus/minus twenty percent of the desired markup over reference cost.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6709.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6709
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  1. Robert Lucas & Mike Golosov, 2004. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," 2004 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Altig, David E & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Lindé, Jesper, 2005. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 4858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
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  9. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Benjamin Eden, 2014. "Rigid Prices: Evidence From U.S. Scanner Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 423-442, 05.
  10. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "An estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Research 35, National Bank of Belgium.
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  12. Miles S. Kimball, 1995. "The Quantitative Analytics of the Basic Neomonetarist Model," NBER Working Papers 5046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  15. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Online Appendix to "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle"," Technical Appendices 09-191, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  16. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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