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Are Prices Too Sticky?

  • Laurence M. Ball
  • David Romer

This paper shows that small costs of changing nominal prices can lead to rigidities that cause highly inefficient fluctuations in real variables. As a result, aggregate demand stabilization can be very desirable even though the frictions that cause fluctuations in aggregate demand to have real effects are slight. Inefficient price rigidity arises because rigidity has a negative externality: rigidity in one firm's price increases the variability of real aggregate demand, which hurts all firms. The externality can be arbitrarily large relative to the private costs of rigidity.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2171.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2171.

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Length:
Date of creation: Feb 1987
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 104, Issue 3, pp. 507-524,(August 1989).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2171
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Ball, Laurence Markham, 1987. "Externalities from Contract Length," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 615-29, September.
  2. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Weitzman, Martin L, 1985. "The Simple Macroeconomics of Profit Sharing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 937-53, December.
  4. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
  5. Kuran, Timur, 1986. "Price Adjustment Costs, Anticipated Inflation, and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 407-18, May.
  6. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-98, May.
  7. Martin L. Weitzman, 1986. "Macroeconomic Implications Of Profit Sharing," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 291-354 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Schultze, Charles L, 1985. "Microeconomic Efficiency and Nominal Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 1-15, March.
  9. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-38, May.
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