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Rigidity, Dispersion and Discreteness in Chain Prices

  • Benjamin Eden

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Matthew Jaremski

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

This paper studies price setting within a chain of grocery stores, using a scanner database that contains observations of retail prices for 435 products within 75 stores over 121 weeks. We find price dispersion within the chain. Stores differentiate themselves by the prices of relatively few items. Typically most prices in the store are at the mode of the cross sectional price distribution, some are above the mode and some are below the mode. The probability of a price change is 3.6% when the price is at the mode and 76.2% when the price is not at the mode. We explain the apparent attraction to the mode in terms of a model in which price discreteness plays an important role but there is no inertia. We also find that the probability of a price change is higher when the deviation from the mean of the cross sectional price distribution is large. But unlike conventional wisdom, the probability of a price change is higher for young prices.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu09-w03R.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2009
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0903.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0903
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Eden, Benjamin, 1994. "The Adjustment of Prices to Monetary Shocks When Trade Is Uncertain and Sequential," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 493-509, June.
  2. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2005. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does It Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," Working Papers 05-4, Bank of Canada.
  3. Emmanuel Dhyne & Luis J. Álvarez & Hervé Le Bihan & Giovanni Veronese & Daniel Dias & Johannes Hoffmann & Nicole Jonker & Patrick Lünnemann & Fabio Rumler & Jouko Vilmunen, 2005. "Price setting in the euro area: Some stylized facts from Individual Consumer Price Data," Working Papers w200506, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  4. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Benjamin Eden, 2014. "Rigid Prices: Evidence From U.S. Scanner Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 423-442, 05.
  5. 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.
  6. Eden, Benjamin, 1990. "Marginal Cost Pricing When Spot Markets Are Complete," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1293-1306, December.
  7. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Staggering and Synchronization in Price-Setting: Evidence from Multiproduct Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1175-96, December.
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  11. 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.
  12. Sam Peltzman, 1998. "Prices Rise Faster Than They Fall," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 142, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  13. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1991. "State-Dependent Pricing and the Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 683-708, August.
  14. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1977. "Inflation and Costs of Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-303, June.
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  16. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  17. Rob, Rafael, 1985. "Equilibrium Price Distributions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 487-504, July.
  18. 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.
  19. Dana, James D, Jr, 2001. "Monopoly Price Dispersion under Demand Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 649-70, August.
  20. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2007. "Sales and the real effects of monetary policy," Working Papers 652, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  21. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  22. Aguirregabiria, Victor, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308, April.
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