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How Frequent Are Small Price Changes?

  • Martin S. Eichenbaum
  • Nir Jaimovich
  • Sergio Rebelo
  • Josephine Smith

Recent empirical work suggests that small price changes are relatively common. This evidence has been used to criticize classic menu-cost models. In this paper, we use scanner data from a national supermarket chain and micro data from the Consumer Price Index to reassess the importance of small price changes. We argue that the vast majority of these changes are due to measurement error. We conclude that the evidence on the prevalence of small price changes is much too weak to be used as a litmus test of nominal rigidity models.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17956.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Martin Eichenbaum & Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo & Josephine Smith, 2014. "How Frequent Are Small Price Changes?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 137-55, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17956
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Cavallo, Alberto & Rigobon, Roberto, 2011. "The Distribution of the Size of Price Changes," Working Papers 2011-011, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
  2. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Hellwig, Christian, 2007. "Prices and Market Shares in a Menu Cost Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 6504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ben Eden & Jeff Campbell, 2004. "Rigid Prices: Evidence from US scanner data," 2004 Meeting Papers 461, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2009. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 769-803, June.
  6. Michael Woodford, 2008. "Information-Constrained State-Dependent Pricing," NBER Working Papers 14620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alberto Cavallo, 2015. "Scraped Data and Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 21490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2010. "Product Creation and Destruction: Evidence and Price Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 691-723, June.
  9. Saul Lach & Daniel Tsiddon, 2007. "Small price changes and menu costs," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 649-656.
  10. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2005. "Customer anger at price increases, changes in the frequency of price adjustment and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 829-852, May.
  11. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2004. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Macroeconomics 0402020, EconWPA.
  12. Julio J. Rotemberg, 1982. "Monopolistic Price Adjustment and Aggregate Output," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 517-531.
  13. Filip Matejka, 2010. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," 2010 Meeting Papers 420, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Ricardo Reis, 2005. "Inattentive Producers," 2005 Meeting Papers 290, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Mark Gertler & John V. Leahy, 2006. "A Phillips curve with an Ss foundation," Working Papers 06-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  16. Robert Lucas & Mike Golosov, 2004. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," 2004 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Alvarez, Fernando & Lippi, Francesco & Paciello, Luigi, 2010. "Optimal price setting with observation and menu costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 7861, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi, 2013. "Price setting with menu cost for multi-product firms," EIEF Working Papers Series 1302, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Feb 2013.
  20. Anil K Kashyap, 1995. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 245-274.
  21. Robert J. Barro, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26.
  22. Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2009. "Price adjustments and inflation - evidence from Norwegian consumer price data 1975-2004," Working Paper 2009/11, Norges Bank.
  23. Martin Eichenbaum & Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2008. "Reference Prices and Nominal Rigidities," NBER Working Papers 13829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  25. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 1991. "State-Dependent Pricing and the Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 683-708.
  26. repec:pri:cepsud:211schoenle is not listed on IDEAS
  27. 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.
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