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Price Stickiness and Inflation

  • Richard De Abreu Lourenco

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • David Gruen

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

A recent model of firms’ pricing behaviour by Laurence Ball and Gregory Mankiw has novel implications for the effect of relative price shocks on inflation. This paper examines these implications and establishes the importance of expected inflation for this story. We derive the model relationship between expected inflation, the economy-wide distribution of industry price changes and actual inflation, and show that both Australian and US industry-price data strongly support this derived relationship. The inflationary impact of relative price shocks depends strongly on expected inflation. When expected inflation is high, a rise in the economy-wide dispersion of shocks is inflationary in the short-run. By contrast, when expected inflation is low, a rise in the dispersion of shocks has minimal impact on inflation. Economy-wide relative price shocks, like terms of trade shocks, are an unavoidable feature of the economic landscape. Their disruptive effect on inflation is minimal, however, when average inflation, and therefore average expected inflation, is kept low.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp9502.

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Date of creation: Mar 1995
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Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9502
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  1. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1992. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 4089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-93, February.
  3. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  4. Cecchetti, Stephen G., 1986. "The frequency of price adjustment : A study of the newsstand prices of magazines," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 255-274, April.
  5. Stanley Fischer, 1981. "Relative Shocks, Relative Price Variability, and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 381-442.
  6. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  7. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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