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Ioana A. Duca

21 June 2018
We consider a standard result of customer market theory: if firms have stable customer relations and face financial frictions, they may keep prices relatively high on their locked-in shoppers to maintain short-term profits at the expense of future market shares in times of low demand and vice versa in times of high demand. We extend this theoretical framework so that the countercyclical behaviour of price margins is strengthened by the expected persistence of demand and the procyclicality of competitive pressures. We test these predictions for Italian firms participating in the 2014 Wage Dynamics Network Survey. All things being equal, financially constrained firms charge higher markups when faced with low demand; this behaviour is more evident when demand is perceived as being persistent. Our findings suggest that the severity of financial constraints in Italy was one of the causes of the sustained growth of prices in 2010-2013.
JEL Code
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
C26 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
D22 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms
Wage dynamics network
14 November 2018
This paper exploits a very large multi-country survey of consumers to investigate empirically the relationship between inflation expectations and consumer spending. We document that for the Euro Area and almost all of its constituent countries this relationship is generally positive: a higher expected change in inflation is associated with an increase in the probability that a given consumer will make major purchases. Moreover, in line with the predictions of macroeconomic theory, the impact is stronger when the lower bound on nominal interest rates is binding. Also, using the estimated spending probabilities from our micro-level analysis, we indirectly estimate the impact of a gradual increase in inflation expectations on aggregate private consumption. We find the effects to be economically relevant, especially when the lower bound is binding.
JEL Code
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations
29 January 2019
We use a cross-country sample of monthly observations for quantitative easing (QE) treatments in order to study the causal effect of such policies on a large set of economic and financial outcome variables. We address potential endogeneity by re-randomising the sample and applying the augmented inverse probability weighting (AIPW) estimator. Our results show that QE policies do affect the central bank balance sheet and asset prices, in particular long term yields, equity prices and exchange rates in the expected direction. Most importantly, we find that QE policies lead to a sustained rise in the CPI and in inflation expectations. However, our findings suggest that the main transmission channel does not appear to be stronger aggregate demand impacting inflation through the Phillips curve, but rather exchange rate depreciation. Finally, we do not find any evidence for side effects and increases in risk taking following QE, with real house prices and real credit not increasing or falling, and no downward effect on stock market volatility.
JEL Code
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
F3 : International Economics→International Finance
Research Task Force (RTF)