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Regular Adjustment. Theory and Evidence

  • Jerzy Konieczny
  • Fabio Rumler

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.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1352.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1352
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Álvarez & Hervé Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lünnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: Some stylized facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Working Paper Research 74, National Bank of Belgium.
  10. 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.
  11. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2004. "Fair Pricing," NBER Working Papers 10915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
  14. Caplin, Andrew S & Spulber, Daniel F, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 703-25, November.
  15. Álvarez, Luis J. & Hernando, Ignacio, 2004. "Price setting behaviour in Spain: stylised facts using consumer price micro data," Working Paper Series 0416, European Central Bank.
  16. 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..
  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. 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.
  19. Lünnemann, Patrick & Mathä, Thomas Y., 2005. "Consumer price behaviour in Luxembourg: evidence from micro CPI data," Working Paper Series 0541, European Central Bank.
  20. 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.
  21. Dutta, Shantanu, et al, 1999. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 683-703, November.
  22. Caplin, A. & Leahy, J., 1989. "State-Dependent Pricing And The Dynamics Of Money And Output," Discussion Papers 1989_32, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Alexander L. Wolman, 2000. "The frequency and costs of individual price adjustments," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 1-22.
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