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The Equilibrium and Optimal Timing of Price Changes

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  • Laurence Ball
  • David Romer

Abstract

This paper studies the welfare properties of the equilibrium timing of price changes. Staggered price-setting has the advantage that it permits rapid adjustment to firm-specific shocks but the disadvantage that it causes price level inertia and therefore increases aggregate fluctuations. Because each firm ignores its contribution to inertia, staggering can be a stable equilibrium even if it is highly inefficient. In addition, there can be multiple equilibria in the timing of price changes; indeed, whenever there is an inefficient staggered equilibrium, there is also an efficient equilibrium with synchronized price-setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1987. "The Equilibrium and Optimal Timing of Price Changes," NBER Working Papers 2412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2412
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Staggered Wage Setting in a Macro Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 108-113, May.
    2. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
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    5. Laurence Ball, 1988. "Is Equilibrium Indexation Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 299-311.
    6. Parkin, Michael, 1986. "The Output-Inflation Trade-off When Prices Are Costly to Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 200-224, February.
    7. Gray, Jo Anna, 1978. "On Indexation and Contract Length," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 1-18, February.
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    9. Matsukawa, Shigeru, 1986. "The Equilibrium Distribution of Wage Settlements and Economic Stability," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(2), pages 415-437, June.
    10. Fethke, Gary & Policano, Andrew, 1984. "Wage contingencies, the pattern of negotiation and aggregate implications of alternative contract structures," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 151-170, September.
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