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Information-Constrained State-Dependent Pricing

  • Michael Woodford

I present a generalization of the standard (full-information) model of state- dependent pricing in which decisions about when to review a firm's existing price must be made on the basis of imprecise awareness of current market conditions. The imperfect information is endogenized using a variant of the theory of "rational inattention" proposed by Sims (1998, 2003, 2006). This results in a one-parameter family of models, indexed by the cost of information, which nests both the standard state-dependent pricing model and the Calvo model of price adjustment as limiting cases (corresponding to a zero information cost and an unboundedly large information cost respectively). For intermediate levels of the information cost, the model is equivalent to a "generalized Ss model" with a continuous \adjustment hazard" of the kind proposed by Caballero and Engel (1993a, 1993b), but provides an economic motivation for the hazard function and very specific predictions about its form. For high enough levels of the information cost, the Calvo model of price-setting is found to be a reasonable approximation to the exact equilibrium dynamics, except in the case of (infrequent) large shocks. When the model is calibrated to match the frequency and size distribution of price changes observed in microeconomic data sets, prices are found to be much less flexible than in a full-information state-dependent pricing model, and only about 20 percent more flexible than under a Calvo model with the same average frequency of price adjustment.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14620.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Publication status: published as Information-constrained state-dependent pricing Michael Woodford Year of Publication: 2009 Authors: Woodford, Michael Published in: Journal of monetary economics.- Amsterdam : Elsevier, ISSN 0304-3932, ZDB-ID 1911557. - Vol. 56.2009, 1/d15/m10, p. 100-124
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14620
Note: EFG ME
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  2. Filip Matejka, 2010. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp408, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
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  9. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
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  15. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Engel, Eduardo M. R. A., 1993. "Microeconomic rigidities and aggregate price dynamics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 697-711, May.
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  19. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
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  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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  28. Paustian, Matthias, 2005. "The role of contracting schemes for the welfare costs of nominal rigidities over the business cycle," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,22, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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