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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. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1991. "State-Dependent Pricing and the Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 683-708, August.
  2. Mackowiak, Bartosz Adam & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2007. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," CEPR Discussion Papers 6243, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," NBER Working Papers 8290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Filip Matejka, 2010. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," 2010 Meeting Papers 420, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Mark Gertler & John V. Leahy, 2006. "A Phillips curve with an Ss foundation," Working Papers 06-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mark Zbaracki & Mark Ritson & Daniel Levy & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2003. "Managerial and Customer Costs of Price Adjustment: Direct Evidence from Industrial Markets," Working Papers 2003-07, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  11. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi & Luigi Paciello, 2010. "Optimal Price Setting with Observation and Menu Costs," EIEF Working Papers Series 1010, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised May 2010.
  12. 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.
  13. Barro, Robert J, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26, January.
  14. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Benjamin Eden, 2014. "Rigid Prices: Evidence From U.S. Scanner Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 423-442, 05.
  15. Anil K Kashyap, 1994. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," NBER Working Papers 4855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2009. "Price adjustments and inflation - evidence from Norwegian consumer price data 1975-2004," Working Paper 2009/11, Norges Bank.
  17. Eichenbaum, Martin & Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2008. "Reference Prices and Nominal Rigidities," CEPR Discussion Papers 6709, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Alberto Cavallo, 2015. "Scraped Data and Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 21490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Alvarez, Fernando & Lippi, Francesco, 2012. "Price setting with menu cost for multi-product firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8863, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  21. Cavallo, Alberto & Rigobon, Roberto, 2011. "The Distribution of the Size of Price Changes," Working Papers 2011-011, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
  22. 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.
  23. Mikhail Golosov & Robert E. Lucas, 2003. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," NBER Working Papers 10187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Monopolistic Price Adjustment and Aggregate Output," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 517-31, October.
  25. 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.
  26. 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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