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Imperfect information and staggered price setting

  • Laurence Ball
  • Stephen G. Cecchetti

Many Keynesian macroeconomic models are based on the assumption that firms change prices at different times. This paper presents an explanation for this "staggered" price setting. The authors develop a model in which firms have imperfect knowledge of the current state of the economy and gain information by observing the prices set by others. This gives each firm an incentive to set its price shortly after other firms set theirs. Staggering can be the equilibrium outcome. In addition, the information gains can make staggering socially optimal even though it increases aggregate fluctuations. Copyright 1988 by American Economic Association.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number 86-08.

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Date of creation: 1986
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:86-08
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  1. Ball, Laurence & Romer, David, 1989. "The Equilibrium and Optimal Timing of Price Changes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 179-98, April.
  2. Laurence M. Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Are Prices Too Sticky?," NBER Working Papers 2171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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