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Yesterday's bad times are today's good old times: retail price changes in the 1890s were smaller, less frequent, and more permanent

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  • Alan Kackmeister

Abstract

This paper compares nominal price rigidity in retail stores during two 28-month periods: 1889-1891 and 1997-1999. The 1889-1891 microdata price quotes show: 1. a lower frequency of price changes; 2. a smaller average magnitude of price changes; 3. fewer "small" price changes; and, 4. fewer temporary price reductions. These differences are consistent with the 1889-1891 period having a higher cost of changing prices resulting in less adjustment to transitory price shocks. Changes in the retailing environment that may have led to a higher cost of changing prices in 1889-1891 are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Kackmeister, 2005. "Yesterday's bad times are today's good old times: retail price changes in the 1890s were smaller, less frequent, and more permanent," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Midrigan, Virgiliu, 2006. "Menu costs, multi-product firms, and aggregate fluctuations," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/13, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    2. Andrew T. Young & Daniel Levy, 2014. "Explicit Evidence of an Implicit Contract," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 804-832.
    3. Lünnemann, Patrick & Mathä, Thomas Y., 2005. "Consumer price behaviour in Luxembourg: evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 541, European Central Bank.
    4. Andrew T. Young & Alexander K. Blue, 2007. "Retail prices during a change in monetary regimes: evidence from Sears, Roebuck catalogs, 1938-1951," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 763-775.
    5. Eckard, E. Woodrow, 2007. "Retail price concentration, transaction costs, and price flexibility circa 1900," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 131-153, January.
    6. Virgiliu Midrigan, 2005. "Menu Costs, Multi-Product Firms and Aggregate Fluctuations," Macroeconomics 0511004, EconWPA.
    7. Andrew T. Young & Daniel Levy, 2014. "Explicit Evidence of an Implicit Contract," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 804-832.

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    Keywords

    Retail trade ; Prices;

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