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Price setting, price dispersion, and the value of money - or - The law of two prices

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  • Elisabeth Curtis
  • Randall Wright

Abstract

We study models that combine search, monetary exchange, price posting by sellers, and buyers with preferences that differ across random meetings - say, because sellers in different meetings produce different varieties of the same good. We show how these features interact to influence the price level (i.e., the value of money) and price dispersion. First, price-posting equilibria exist with valued fiat currency, which is not true in the standard model. Second, although both are possible, price dispersion is more common than a single price. Third, perhaps surprisingly, we prove generically there cannot be more than two prices in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabeth Curtis & Randall Wright, 2002. "Price setting, price dispersion, and the value of money - or - The law of two prices," Working Papers (Old Series) 0209, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0209
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter Diamond, 1987. "Consumer Differences and Prices in a Search Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 429-436.
    2. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-840, October.
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    9. Camera, Gabriele & Corbae, Dean, 1999. "Money and Price Dispersion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 985-1008, November.
    10. Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 118-141, February.
    11. Miquel Faig, 2001. "A Search Theory of Money and Commerce with Neoclassical Production," Working Papers faig-01-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    12. Jafarey, Saqib & Masters, Adrian, 2003. "Output, Prices, and the Velocity of Money in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 871-888, December.
    13. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1991. "A contribution to the pure theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 215-235, April.
    14. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    15. Camera, Gabriele & Winkler, Johannes, 2003. "International monetary trade and the law of one price," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1531-1553, October.
    16. Zhou, Ruilin, 1999. "Individual and Aggregate Real Balances in a Random-Matching Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1009-1038, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Trejos & Randall Wright, 2014. "Search-Based Models of Money and Finance: An Integrated Approach," Working Papers 709, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. Benoît Julien & John Kennes & Ian King, 2005. "Monetary Exchange with Multilateral Matching," Discussion Papers 05-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
    3. Benoit Julien & Asgerdur Petursdottir & Liang Wang, 2014. "Monetary Equilibria with Indivisible Goods," Working Papers 201428, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    4. Gallin, Joshua & Verbrugge, Randal J., 2019. "A theory of sticky rents: Search and bargaining with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 478-519.
    5. Randall Wright & Philipp Kircher & Benoit Julîen & Veronica Guerrieri, 2017. "Directed Search: A Guided Tour," NBER Working Papers 23884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dong, Mei & Jiang, Janet Hua, 2014. "Money and price posting under private information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 740-777.
    7. Stephen D. Williamson & Randall Wright, 2010. "New monetarist economics: methods," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 92(May), pages 265-302.
    8. Lucy Qian Liu & Liang Wang & Randall Wright, 2015. "Costly Credit and Sticky Prices," Working Papers 201505, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    9. Guido Menzio & Nicholas Trachter, 2014. "Large and Small Sellers: A Theory of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Sequential Search," Working Paper 14-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    10. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:5:y:2008:i:7:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. International Monetary Fund, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," IMF Working Papers 2006/019, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Menzio, Guido & Trachter, Nicholas, 2015. "Equilibrium price dispersion with sequential search," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 188-215.
    13. Han Han & Benoit Julien & Asgerdur Petursdottir & Liang Wang, 2016. "Credit, Money and Asset Equilibria with Indivisible Goods," Working Papers 201608, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    14. Song, Jae Eun, 2014. "Competitive Search Equilibrium in the Credit Market under Asymmetric Information and Limited Commitment," MPRA Paper 57515, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Alternative Models of Wage Dispersion," IMF Working Papers 2005/064, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Ennis, Huberto M., 2008. "Search, money, and inflation under private information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 101-131, January.
    17. Williamson, Stephen & Wright, Randall, 2010. "New Monetarist Economics: Models," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 25-96, Elsevier.
    18. Jean, Kasie & Rabinovich, Stanislav & Wright, Randall, 2010. "On the multiplicity of monetary equilibria: Green-Zhou meets Lagos-Wright," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 392-401, January.
    19. Young Sik Kim & Manjong Lee, 2013. "Separation of Unit of Account from Medium of Exchange," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(8), pages 1685-1703, December.
    20. Gaumont Damien & Schindler Martin & Wright Randall, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-18, October.
    21. Julien, BenoI^t & Kennes, John & King, Ian, 2008. "Bidding for money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 196-217, September.
    22. Benoit Julien & Richard Dutu, 2008. "Ex-ante production, directed search and indivisible money," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 5(7), pages 1-7.
    23. Gaumont, Damien & Schindler, Martin & Wright, Randall, 2006. "Alternative theories of wage dispersion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 831-848, May.
    24. Boragan Aruoba, S. & Rocheteau, Guillaume & Waller, Christopher, 2007. "Bargaining and the value of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2636-2655, November.
    25. Burdett, Kenneth & Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 2017. "A new suggestion for simplifying the theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 423-450.

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