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Roberto Sabbatini

22 April 2004
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 333
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Abstract
This study examines price setting behaviour of Italian firms on the basis of the results of a survey conducted by Banca d'Italia in early 2003 on a sample of around 350 firms belonging to all economic sectors. Prices are mostly fixed following standard mark-up rules, although customer-specific characteristics have a role, in particular in manufacturing and services where price discrimination across customers matters. Rival prices mostly affect pricesetting strategies in industrial firms. In reviewing their prices, firms follow either state-dependent rules or a combination of time and state-dependent ones. Concerning the frequency of price adjustments, a considerable degree of stickiness emerges both at the stage in which firms evaluate their pricing strategies and the stage in which they actually implement the price change. In 2002 most firms changed their price only once. Three alternative explanations of nominal rigidity are ranked highest by the firms interviewed: explicit contracts, tacit collusive behaviour and the perception of the temporary nature of the shock. Prices respond asymmetrically to shocks, depending on the direction of the adjustment (positive vs negative) and the source of the shock (demand vs supply). Real rigidities - captured by the degree of market competition, customers' search costs, the sensitivity of profits to changes in demand - play an important role in determining this asymmetry. Moreover, whereas cost shocks impact more when prices have to be raised than when they have to be reduced, demand decreases are more likely to induce a price change than demand increases.
JEL Code
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
16 March 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 449
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Abstract
This paper investigates the behaviour of consumer prices in Italy by looking at micro data in the attempt to obtain a quantitative measure of the unconditional degree of price rigidity in the Italian economy. The analysis focuses on the monthly frequency of price changes and on the duration of price spells, also with reference to different types of products and outlets. Prices tend to remain unchanged on average for around 10 months; duration is longer for nonenergy industrial goods and services and much shorter for energy products. Price changes are more frequent upward than downward, in larger stores than in traditional ones. When the geographical location of outlets is accounted for, price changes display considerable synchronisation, in particular in the service sector.
JEL Code
D21 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Theory
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
21 October 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 535
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Abstract
This study investigates the pricing behaviour of firms in the euro area on the basis of surveys conducted by nine Eurosystem national central banks, covering more than 11,000 firms. The results, robust across countries, show that firms operate in monopolistically competitive markets, where prices are mostly set following markup rules and where price discrimination is common. Around one-third of firms follow mainly time-dependent pricing rules while two thirds allow for elements of state-dependence. The majority of firms take into account past and expected economic developments in their pricing decisions. Price stickiness is mainly driven by customer relationships
JEL Code
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
14 December 2005
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 563
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Abstract
This paper presents original evidence on price setting in the euro area at the individual level. We use micro data on consumer (CPI) and producer (PPI) prices, as well as survey information. Our main findings are: (i) prices in the euro area are sticky and more so than in the US; (ii) there is evidence of heterogeneity and of asymmetries in price setting behaviour; (iii) downward price rigidity is only slightly more marked than upward price rigidity and (iv) implicit or explicit contracts and coordination failure theories are important, whereas menu or information costs are judged much less relevant by firms.
JEL Code
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
14 February 2007
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 727
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Abstract
This paper documents producer price setting in 6 countries of the euro area: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. It collects evidence from available studies on each of those countries and also provides new evidence. These studies use monthly producer price data. The following five stylised facts emerge consistently across countries. First, producer prices change infrequently: each month around 21% of prices change. Second, there is substantial cross-sector heterogeneity in the frequency of price changes: prices change very often in the energy sector, less often in food and intermediate goods and least often in non-durable non-food and durable goods. Third, countries have a similar ranking of industries in terms of frequency of price changes. Fourth, there is no evidence of downward nominal rigidity: price changes are for about 45% decreases and 55% increases. Fifth, price changes are sizeable compared to the inflation rate. The paper also examines the factors driving producer price changes. It finds that costs structure, competition, seasonality, inflation and attractive pricing all play a role in driving producer price changes. In addition producer prices tend to be more flexible than consumer prices.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
C25 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models, Discrete Regressors, Proportions
Network
Eurosystem inflation persistence network
24 August 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1084
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Abstract
This paper presents new evidence on the patterns of price and wage adjustment in European firms and on the extent of nominal rigidities. It uses a unique dataset collected through a firm-level survey conducted in a broad range of countries and covering various sectors. Several conclusions are drawn from this evidence. Firms adjust wages less frequently than prices: the former tend to remain unchanged for about 15 months on average, the latter for around 10 months. The degree of price rigidity varies substantially across sectors and depends strongly on economic features, such as the intensity of competition, the exposure to foreign markets and the share of labour costs in total cost. Instead, country specificities, mostly related to the labour market institutional setting, are more relevant in characterising the pattern of wage adjustment. The latter exhibits also a substantial degree of time-dependence, as firms tend to concentrate wage changes in a specific month, mostly January in the majority of countries. Wage and price changes feed into each other at the micro level and there is a relationship between wage and price rigidity.
JEL Code
D21 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations→Firm Behavior: Theory
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
J31 : Labor and Demographic Economics→Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs→Wage Level and Structure, Wage Differentials
Network
Wage dynamics network