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Jerzy (Jurek) D. Konieczny

18 August 2006
We ask why, in many circumstances and many environments, decision-makers choose to act on a time-regular basis (e.g. adjust every six weeks) or on a state-regular basis (e.g. set prices ending in a 9), even though such an approach appears suboptimal. The paper attributes regular behaviour to adjustment cost heterogeneity. We show that, given the cost heterogeneity, the likelihood of adopting regular policies depends on the shape of the benefit function: the flatter it is, the more likely, ceteris paribus, is regular adjustment. We provide sufficient conditions under which, when policymakers differ with respect to the shape of the benefit function (as in Konieczny and Skrzypacz, 2006), the frequency of adjustments across markets is negatively correlated with the incidence of regular adjustments. On the other hand, if policymakers differences are due to the level of adjustment costs (as in Dotsey, King and Wolman, 1999), then the correlation is positive. To test the model we apply it to optimal pricing policies. We use a large Austrian data set, which consists of the direct price information collected by the statistical office and covers 80% of the CPI over eight years. We run cross-sectional tests, regressing the proportion of attractive prices and, separately, the excess proportion of price changes at the beginning of a year and at the beginning of a quarter, on various conditional frequencies of adjustment, inflation and its variability, dummies for good types, and other relevant variables. We find that the lower is, in a given market, the conditional frequency of price changes, the higher is the incidence of time- and state-regular adjustment.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
L11 : Industrial Organization→Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance→Production, Pricing, and Market Structure, Size Distribution of Firms
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
D01 : Microeconomics→General→Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
Eurosystem inflation persistence network