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Pricing Regimes in Disaggregated Data

  • Luminita Stevens

    (Columbia University)

This paper develops a test for changes in the distribution of good-level prices over time and applies it to grocery store data. The method is based on the Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic, which measures the distance between two empirical distributions. This test is robust to different data generating processes and does not require specific a priori knowledge about patterns in the data. I find that the typical pricing regime lasts seven months yet consists of a small number of distinct prices: for the large majority of regimes, five or fewer unique prices account for more than 90% of the regime. The test provides a natural way to investigate the prevalence of sticky pricing plans, since the identified change points serve as estimates of transitions to new plans. I find strong evidence in favor of rigid pricing plans: in addition to rigidity of the modal price of each regime, 76% of product series exhibit some degree of within-regime rigidity among non-modal prices; conversely, only 18% of series consist entirely of one-to-flex regimes in which prices flexibly deviate from the rigid mode; the remaining 5% consist of single sticky price regimes.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 1389.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1389
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  1. Christian Hellwig & Ariel Burstein, 2007. "Prices and Market Shares in a Menu Cost Model," 2007 Meeting Papers 327, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Filip Matejka, 2010. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp408, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  3. Daniel Levy & Georg Müller & Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen, 2002. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," Working Papers 2002-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  4. Bernardo Guimaraes & Kevin D. Sheedy, 2011. "Sales and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 844-76, April.
  5. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  6. Abe, Naohito & Tonogi, Akiyuki, 2010. "Micro and macro price dynamics in daily data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 716-728, September.
  7. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Klenow, Peter J. & Malin, Benjamin A., 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 6, pages 231-284 Elsevier.
  9. Chahrour, Ryan A., 2011. "Sales and price spikes in retail scanner data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 143-146, February.
  10. Caplin, Andrew S & Spulber, Daniel F, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 703-25, November.
  11. Perron, P. & Bai, J., 1995. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Cahiers de recherche 9552, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  12. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
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