The Roles of Price Points and Menu Costs in Price Rigidity
Edward Knotek ()
No 1563, 2016 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics
Macroeconomic models often generate nominal price rigidity via menu costs. This paper provides empirical evidence that treating menu costs as a structural explanation for sticky prices may be spurious. Using scanner data, I note two empirical facts: (1) price points, embodied in nine-ending prices, account for approximately two-thirds of prices; (2) at the conclusion of sales, post-sale prices return to their pre-sale levels more than three-fourths of the time. I construct a model that nests roles for menu costs and price points and estimate model variants via simulated method of moments. Excluding the two facts yields a statistically and economically significant role for menu costs in generating price rigidity. Incorporating the two facts yields an incentive to set nine-ending prices two orders of magnitude larger than the menu costs in this model. In this setting, the price point model can match the two stylized facts, but menu costs are effectively irrelevant as a source of price rigidity. The choice of a mechanism for price rigidity matters for aggregate dynamics.
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Working Paper: The Roles of Price Points and Menu Costs in Price Rigidity (2019)
Working Paper: The roles of price points and menu costs in price rigidity (2010)
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