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Why Are Prices Sticky? The Dynamics of Wholesale Gasoline Prices

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  • Michael C. Davis
  • James D. Hamilton

Abstract

The menu-cost interpretation of sticky prices implies that the probability of a price change should depend on the past history of prices and fundamentals only through the gap between the current price and the frictionless price. We find that this prediction is broadly consistent with the behavior of 9 Philadelphia gasoline wholesalers. We nevertheless reject the menu-cost model as a literal description of these firms' behavior, arguing instead that price stickiness arises from strategic considerations of how customers and competitors will react to price changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael C. Davis & James D. Hamilton, 2003. "Why Are Prices Sticky? The Dynamics of Wholesale Gasoline Prices," NBER Working Papers 9741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9741
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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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