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The Role of Consumer's Risk Aversion on Price Rigidity

Sergio Alves and Mirta Bugarin

No 121, Working Papers Series from Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department

Abstract: This paper aims to contribute to the research agenda on the sources of price rigidity. Based on broadly accepted assumptions on the behavior of economic agents, we show that firms’ competition can lead to the adoption of sticky prices as a sub-game perfect equilibrium strategy to optimally deal with consumers’ risk aversion, even if firms have no adjustment costs. To this end, we build a model economy based on consumption centers with several complete markets and relax some traditional assumptions used in standard monetary policy models by assuming that households have imperfect information about the inefficient time-varying cost shocks faced by the .rms. Furthermore, we assume that the timing of events is such that, at every period, consumers have access to the actual prices prevailing in the market only after choosing a particular consumption center. Since such choices under uncertainty may decrease the expected utilities of risk-averse consumers, competitive firms adopt some degree of price stickiness in order to minimize the price uncertainty and "attract more customers".

Date: 2006-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-dge, nep-mac, nep-mic and nep-upt
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Working Paper: The Role of Consumer's Risk Aversion on Price Rigidity (2006)
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