Staggering and Synchronisation of Prices in a Low Inflation Environment: Evidence from German Food Stores
Only a few studies have analysed staggering and synchronisation in pricing behaviour of multi-product firms. These studies used low-frequency data in an environment of high rates of inflation. This paper investigates staggering and synchronisation of weekly prices for ten food products in 131 grocery stores in Germany over the period from May 1995 to December 2000 (296 weeks). Different forms of staggering and synchronisation (across-store synchronisation, within type-of-store synchronisation, within retailer synchronisation or across-product synchronisation) have been analysed. None of these forms of synchronisation is supported empirically however. In contrast, perfect staggering can only be rejected in very few cases indicating that fixed or firm specific menu costs are not major causes for price stickiness.
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