IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedmsr/520.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Coarse Pricing Policies

Author

Listed:
  • Stevens, Luminita

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Abstract

The puzzling behavior of inflation in the Great Recession and its aftermath has increased the need to better understand the constraints that firms face when setting prices. Using new data and theory, I demonstrate that each firm's choice of how much information to acquire to set prices determines aggregate price dynamics through the patterns of pricing at the micro level, and through the large heterogeneity in pricing policies across firms. Viewed through this lens, the behavior of prices in recent years becomes less puzzling, as firms endogenously adjust their information acquisition strategies. In support of this mechanism, I present micro evidence that firms price goods using plans that are sticky, coarse, and volatile. A theory of information-constrained price setting generates such policies endogenously, and quantitatively matches the discreteness, duration, volatility, and heterogeneity of policies in the data. Policies track the state noisily, resulting in sluggish adjustment to shocks. A higher volatility of shocks does not reduce monetary non-neutrality and generates slight inflation, while progress in the technology to acquire information results in deflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stevens, Luminita, 2015. "Coarse Pricing Policies," Staff Report 520, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:520
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://minneapolisfed.org/research/sr/sr520.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Simon Gilchrist & Raphael Schoenle & Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajšek, 2017. "Inflation Dynamics during the Financial Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 785-823, March.
    2. Pasten, Ernesto & Schoenle, Raphael, 2016. "Rational inattention, multi-product firms and the neutrality of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1-16.
    3. Bernardo Guimaraes & Kevin D. Sheedy, 2011. "Sales and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 844-876, April.
    4. Filip Matějka, 2016. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1125-1155.
    5. Filip Matêjka & Alisdair McKay, 2015. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 272-298, January.
    6. Joseph Vavra, 2011. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Uncertainty: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," 2011 Meeting Papers 126, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Burstein, Ariel T., 2006. "Inflation and output dynamics with state-dependent pricing decisions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1235-1257, October.
    8. Joseph Vavra, 2014. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Volatility: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 215-258.
    9. Luminita Stevens, 2011. "Pricing Regimes in Disaggregated Data," 2011 Meeting Papers 1389, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Yoshiyuki Kurachi & Kazuhiro Hiraki & Shinichi Nishioka, 2016. "Does a Higher Frequency of Micro-level Price Changes Matter for Macro Price Stickiness?: Assessing the Impact of Temporary Price Changes," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 16-E-9, Bank of Japan.
    2. repec:eee:moneco:v:91:y:2017:i:c:p:88-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rosen Valchev & Nicolas Vincent & Cosmin Ilut, 2014. "Paralyzed by Fear: Rigid and Discrete Pricing under Demand Uncertainty," 2014 Meeting Papers 716, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Andrew Caplin & Mark Dean & John Leahy, 2017. "Rationally Inattentive Behavior: Characterizing and Generalizing Shannon Entropy," NBER Working Papers 23652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mackowiak, Bartosz Adam & Matejka, Filip & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2016. "The Rational Inattention Filter," CEPR Discussion Papers 11237, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Cabrales, Antonio & Gossner, Olivier & Serrano, Roberto, 2017. "A normalized value for information purchases," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 266-288.
    7. repec:eee:macchp:v2-1065 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Khaw, Mel Win & Stevens, Luminita & Woodford, Michael, 2017. "Discrete adjustment to a changing environment: Experimental evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 88-103.
    9. George-Marios Angeletos & Chen Lian, 2016. "Incomplete Information in Macroeconomics: Accommodating Frictions in Coordination," NBER Working Papers 22297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:eee:jetheo:v:176:y:2018:i:c:p:650-692 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rigid prices; rational inattention; inflation dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:520. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jannelle Ruswick). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbmnus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.