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A Kinked-Demand Theory of Price Rigidity

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  • Stephane Dupraz

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

I provide a microfounded theory for one of the oldest, but so far informal, explanations of price rigidity: the kinked demand curve theory. Assuming that some customers observe at no cost only the price of the store they happen to be at gives rise to a kink in firms' demand curves: a price increase above the market price repels more customers than a price decrease attracts. The kink in turn makes a range of prices consistent with equilibrium, but an intuitive criterion---the adaptive rational-expectations criterion---selects a unique equilibrium where prices stay constant for a long time. The kinked-demand theory is consistent with price-setters' account of price-rigidity as arising from the customer's---not the firm's---side, and can be tested against menu-cost models in micro data: it predicts that prices should be more likely to change if they have recently changed, and that prices should be more flexible in markets where customers can more easily compare prices. The kinked-demand theory has novel implications for monetary policy: its Phillips curve is strongly convex but does not contain any (present or past) expectations of inflation; its trade-off between output and inflation persists in the long-run; changes to the distribution of sectoral productivity shift the Phillips curve; and monetary shocks have a much longer-lasting real effect than in a menu-cost model, despite also being a model of state-dependent pricing.

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  • Stephane Dupraz, 2017. "A Kinked-Demand Theory of Price Rigidity," 2017 Meeting Papers 387, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed017:387
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    1. Tsutomu Watanabe, 2020. "The Welfare Implications of Massive Money Injection: The Japanese Experience from 2013 to 2020," CARF F-Series CARF-F-493, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    2. Cosmin Ilut & Rosen Valchev & Nicolas Vincent, 2020. "Paralyzed by Fear: Rigid and Discrete Pricing Under Demand Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(5), pages 1899-1938, September.
    3. Arnildo Correa & Myrian Petrassi & Rafael Santos, 2018. "Price-Setting Behavior in Brazil: Survey Evidence," Journal of Business Cycle Research, Springer;Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys (CIRET), vol. 14(2), pages 283-310, November.
    4. Kosuke Aoki & Hibiki Ichiue & Tatsushi Okuda, 2019. "Consumers' Price Beliefs, Central Bank Communication, and Inflation Dynamics," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 19-E-14, Bank of Japan.
    5. Cynthia L. Doniger & J. David López-Salido, 2017. "Hysteresis via Endogenous Rigidity in Wages and Participation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-044, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Lindé, Jesper & Trabandt, Mathias, 2019. "Resolving the Missing Deflation Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 13690, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Pazhanisamy, R., 2018. "Re examination of Kinked Demand Oligopoly Market: Theory, Evidence and Policy Implications from Lakshadweep," MPRA Paper 91176, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Dec 2018.
    8. Tsutomu Watanabe, 2020. "The Welfare Implications of Massive Money Injection: The Japanese Experience from 2013 to 2020," Working Papers on Central Bank Communication 028, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics.

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    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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