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Regular adjustment: theory and evidence

  • Konieczny, Jerzy (Jurek) D.
  • Rumler, Fabio

We ask why, in many circumstances and many environments, decision-makers choose to act on a time-regular basis (e.g. adjust every six weeks) or on a stateregular basis (e.g. set prices ending in a 9), even though such an approach appears suboptimal. The paper attributes regular behaviour to adjustment cost heterogeneity. We show that, given the cost heterogeneity, the likelihood of adopting regular policies depends on the shape of the benefit function: the flatter it is, the more likely, ceteris paribus, is regular adjustment. We provide sufficient conditions under which, when policymakers differ with respect to the shape of the benefit function (as in Konieczny and Skrzypacz, 2006), the frequency of adjustments across markets is negatively correlated with the incidence of regular adjustments. On the other hand, if policymakers differences are due to the level of adjustment costs (as in Dotsey, King and Wolman, 1999), then the correlation is positive. To test the model we apply it to optimal pricing policies. We use a large Austrian data set, which consists of the direct price information collected by the statistical office and covers 80% of the CPI over eight years. We run cross-sectional tests, regressing the proportion of attractive prices and, separately, the excess proportion of price changes at the beginning of a year and at the beginning of a quarter, on various conditional frequencies of adjustment, inflation and its variability, dummies for good types, and other relevant variables. We find that the lower is, in a given market, the conditional frequency of price changes, the higher is the incidence of time- and state-regular adjustment. JEL Classification: E31, L11, E52, D01

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0669.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060669
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  1. Baumgartner, Josef & Glatzer, Ernst & Rumler, Fabio & Stiglbauer, Alfred, 2005. "How frequently do consumer prices change in Austria? Evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 0523, European Central Bank.
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  3. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-32, Nov.-Dec..
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  5. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 2005. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U.S. Supermarket Chains," Macroeconomics 0505012, EconWPA.
  6. Lünnemann, Patrick & Mathä, Thomas Y., 2005. "Consumer price behaviour in Luxembourg: evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 0541, European Central Bank.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Luis J. Álvarez & Ignacio Hernando, 2004. "Price setting behaviour in Spain: stylised facts using consumer price micro data," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0422, Banco de Espa�a.
  10. Etienne Gagnon, 2007. "Price setting during low and high inflation: evidence from Mexico," International Finance Discussion Papers 896, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2011. "Fair Pricing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 952-981, October.
  12. Luc Aucremanne & Emmanuel Dhyne, 2004. "How frequently do prices change? Evidence based on the micro data underlying the Belgian CPI," Working Paper Research 44, National Bank of Belgium.
  13. Alexander L. Wolman, 2000. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustments," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 1-22.
  14. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
  15. Daniel Levy & Georg Muller & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2002. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Emory Economics 0208, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  16. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  18. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Robert Venable, 2005. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Macroeconomics 0505007, EconWPA.
  19. Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2002. "Heterogeneity in Price Rigidity: Evidence from a Case Study Using Micro-Level Data," Working Papers 2002-09, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  20. Fisher, Timothy C. G. & Konieczny, Jerzy D., 2000. "Synchronization of price changes by multiproduct firms: evidence from Canadian newspaper prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 271-277, September.
  21. Daniel Dias & Carlos Robalo Marques & J.M.C.Santos Silva, 2005. "Time or State Dependent Price Setting Rules? Evidence from Portuguese Micro Data," Working Papers w200508, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  22. Owen, Ann & Trzepacz, David, 2002. "Menu costs, firm strategy, and price rigidity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 345-349, August.
  23. 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.
  24. Basu, Kaushik, 1997. "Why are so many goods priced to end in nine? And why this practice hurts the producers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 41-44, January.
  25. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing And The General Equilibrium Dynamics Of Money And Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690, May.
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