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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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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2011/paper_1389.pdf
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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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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Ariel Burstein & Christian Hellwig, 2007. "Prices and Market Shares in a Menu Cost Model," NBER Working Papers 13455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Levy, Daniel & Müller, Georg & Chen, Haipeng (Allan) & Bergen, Mark & Dutta, Shantanu, 2008. "Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Price Adjustment," MPRA Paper 13095, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  4. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
  5. Chahrour, Ryan A., 2011. "Sales and price spikes in retail scanner data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 143-146, February.
  6. Peter J. Klenow & Benjamin A. Malin, 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," NBER Working Papers 15826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464.
  8. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "Prices are Sticky After All," NBER Working Papers 16364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  10. Andrew S. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 703-725.
  11. 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.
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