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Small Price Responses to Large Demand Shocks

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  • J. David Lopez-Salido

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Etienne Gagnon

    (Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

We study the pricing response of U.S. supermarkets to large demand shocks triggered by labor conflicts, mass population relocation, and shopping sprees around major snowstorms and hurricanes. Our focus on demand shocks is novel in the empirical literature that uses large datasets of individual data to bridge micro price behavior and aggregate price dynamics. We find that large swings in demand have, at best, modest effects on the level of retail prices, consistent with flat short- to medium-term supply curves. This finding holds even when shocks are highly persistent and even though stores adjust prices frequently. We also uncover evidence of tit-for-tat behavior by which retailers with radically different demand shocks nonetheless seek to match their local competitors' pricing movements and recourse to sales and promotions.

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Lopez-Salido & Etienne Gagnon, 2015. "Small Price Responses to Large Demand Shocks," 2015 Meeting Papers 1480, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:1480
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    Cited by:

    1. Etienne Gagnon & David López-Salido & Jason Sockin, 2017. "The Cyclicality of Sales, Regular, and Effective Prices: Business Cycle and Policy Implications: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(10), pages 3229-3242, October.
    2. Marcelle, Chauvet & Insu, Kim, 2019. "Incomplete Price Adjustment and Inflation Persistence," MPRA Paper 97497, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 04 Dec 2019.
    3. Johannes Stroebel & Joseph Vavra, 2019. "House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1391-1436.
    4. Mikael Carlsson, 2017. "Microdata Evidence on the Empirical Importance of Selection Effects in Menu‐Cost Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(8), pages 1803-1830, December.
    5. Brent Meyer & Brian Prescott & Xuguang Sheng, 2020. "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Business Expectations," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2020-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    6. Kanika Mahajan & Shekhar Tomar, 2021. "COVID‐19 and Supply Chain Disruption: Evidence from Food Markets in India†," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(1), pages 35-52, January.
    7. Peter Karadi & Adam Reiff, 2019. "Menu Costs, Aggregate Fluctuations, and Large Shocks," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 111-146, July.
    8. Gregory Howard, 2017. "The Migration Accelerator: Labor Mobility, Housing, and Aggregate Demand," 2017 Meeting Papers 563, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Kanika Mahajan & Shekhar Tomar, 2020. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: COVID-19 and Supply Chain Disruptions," Working Papers 28, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    10. Alberto Cavallo & Eduardo Cavallo & Roberto Rigobon, 2014. "Prices and Supply Disruptions during Natural Disasters," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S2), pages 449-471, November.
    11. Christopher Hansman & Harrison Hong & Áureo de Paula & Vishal Singh, 2020. "A Sticky-Price View of Hoarding," NBER Working Papers 27051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lloyd, T.A. & McCorriston, S. & Morgan, C.W. & Poen, E. & Zgovu, E., 2014. "Retail price dynamics and retailer heterogeneity: UK evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 434-438.
    13. Laurien Gilbert, 2018. "Gains from Product Variety and the Local Business Cycle," 2018 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Chen Yeh & David Argente, 2016. "A Menu Cost Model with Price Experimentation," 2016 Meeting Papers 1515, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Oleksandr Talavera & Nam Vu, 2020. "Inventory Shock and Price-Setting," Discussion Papers 20-14, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    16. Pau Roldán & Sonia Gilbukh, 2018. "Firm dynamics and pricing under customer capital accumulation," Working Papers 1838, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    17. Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Yanjun Liao & Yann Panassie, 2020. "How Hurricanes Sweep Up Housing Markets: Evidence from Florida," NBER Working Papers 27542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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