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Teresa Messner

26 January 2024
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2894
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Abstract
It has been widely documented that households experience different inflation rates which are generally concealed in aggregate price indices. Using scanner data from a large household panel for Austria, we analyse price dynamics faced by individual households and try to explain the causes for the observed inflation differences. Considering not only consumption shares but also the specific product prices paid by households, we find a considerable and persistent degree of heterogeneity among household inflation rates. These are also quite variable over time, resulting from varying consumption baskets and active product substitution, allowing households to reduce their inflation exposure substantially. Factors like age and shopping behavior of households explain some of the inflation differences, whereas income does not seem to have a notable influence in normal times. However, during high inflation periods, the lowest income group is found to face higher inflation rates than other income groups.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D30 : Microeconomics→Distribution→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA)
17 July 2023
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 325
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Abstract
Inflation affects the purchasing power of households. This paper documents large, idiosyncratic inflation differences between households in their everyday shopping. Low-income households have experienced higher inflation in the last ten years, but the difference to richer households has been small and time varying. Household-specific behaviour appears to dominate inflation differences within countries. Between countries, multinational retail chains not only differentiate products by branding, but also charge different prices for identical products. Retailers continue to differentiate prices along national borders, even within largely integrated economic regions. Price changes, however, are broadly aligned across borders within the same retailers.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D3 : Microeconomics→Distribution
D43 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration
F4 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
17 July 2023
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 319
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Abstract
This paper documents five stylised facts relating to price adjustment in the euro area, using various micro price datasets collected in a period with relatively low and stable inflation. First, price changes are infrequent in the core sectors. On average, 12% of consumer prices change each month, falling to 8.5% when sales prices are excluded. The frequency of producer price adjustment is greater (25%), reflecting that the prices of intermediate goods and energy are more flexible. For both consumer and producer prices, cross-sectoral heterogeneity is more pronounced than cross-country heterogeneity. Second, price changes tend to be large and heterogeneous. For consumer prices, the typical absolute price change is about 10%, and the distribution of price changes shows a broad dispersion. For producer prices, the typical absolute price change is smaller, but nevertheless larger than inflation. Third, price setting is mildly state-dependent: the probability of price adjustment rises with the size of price misalignment, mainly reflecting idiosyncratic shocks, but it does not increase very sharply. Fourth, for both consumer and producer prices, the repricing rate showed no trend in the period 2005-19 but was more volatile in the short run. Fifth, small cyclical variations in frequency did not contribute much to fluctuations in aggregate inflation, which instead mainly reflected shifts in the average size of price changes. Consistent with idiosyncratic shocks as the main driver of price changes, aggregate disturbances affected inflation by shifting the relative number of firms increasing or decreasing their prices, rather than the size of price increases and decreases.
JEL Code
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
20 April 2023
RESEARCH BULLETIN - No. 106
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Abstract
(Why) do prices and inflation rates differ within the euro area? We study the relevance of a national border for grocery prices in the otherwise homogenous and highly integrated border region between Austria and Germany. Using transaction data on prices and quantities from a large household panel survey, we compare the prices of identical products within a narrow band along the border. We find large assortment and price differences between the two countries. Even within multinational retail chains the prices of identical products on each side of the border differ on average by about 21%. These price differences are not very persistent, indicating little arbitrage gain from undifferentiated cross-border shopping. Product-level inflation rates differ for only half of the retail chains. Our results highlight the importance of the historical evolution of distribution networks and of the structure of the sales organisation as a driver of price and inflation heterogeneity.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
D43 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration
F4 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
8 February 2023
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2776
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Abstract
(Why) do prices and inflation rates differ within the euro area? We study the relevance of a national border for grocery prices in the otherwise homogenous and highly integrated border region of Austria and Germany. Using transaction data on prices and quantities from a large household panel, we compare the prices of identical products within a narrow band along the border. We find large assortment and price differences between these two regions. Even within multinational retail chains the prices of identical products on the two sides of the border differ on average by about 21%. These price differences are not very persistent indicating little arbitrage gain from undifferentiated cross-border shopping. Ensuing product-level inflation rates differ for only half of the chains. The results highlight the importance of the history-dependent evolution of distribution networks and of the structure of the sales organization as a driver of price and inflation heterogeneity.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
D43 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
F15 : International Economics→Trade→Economic Integration
F4 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
Network
Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA)
17 June 2022
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2669
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Abstract
Using CPI micro data for 11 euro area countries covering about 60% of the euro area consumption basket over the period 2010-2019, we document new findings on consumer price rigidity in the euro area: (i) each month on average 12.3% of prices change, which compares with 19.3% in the United States; when we exclude price changes due to sales, however, the proportion of prices adjusted each month is 8.5% in the euro area versus 10% in the United States; (ii) differences in price rigidity are rather limited across euro area countries but much larger across sectors; (iii) the median price increase (resp. decrease) is 9.6% (13%) when including sales and 6.7% (8.7%) when excluding sales; cross-country heterogeneity is more pronounced for the size than for the frequency of price changes; (iv) the distribution of price changes is highly dispersed: 14% of price changes in absolute values are lower than 2% whereas 10% are above 20%; (v) the overall frequency of price changes does not change much with inflation and does not react much to aggregate shocks; (vi) changes in inflation are mostly driven by movements in the overall size; when decomposing the overall size, changes in the share of price increases among all changes matter more than movements in the size of price increases or the size of price decreases. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a menu cost model in a low inflation environment where idiosyncratic shocks are a more relevant driver of price adjustment than aggregate shocks.
JEL Code
D40 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing→General
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
Network
Price-setting Microdata Analysis Network (PRISMA)
21 September 2021
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 265
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Abstract
This paper – which takes into consideration overall experience with the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) as well as the improvements made to this measure of inflation since 2003 – finds that the HICP continues to fulfil the prerequisites for the index underlying the ECB’s definition of price stability. Nonetheless, there is scope for enhancing the HICP, especially by including owner-occupied housing (OOH) using the net acquisitions approach. Filling this long-standing gap is of utmost importance to increase the coverage and cross-country comparability of the HICP. In addition to integrating OOH into the HICP, further improvements would be welcome in harmonisation, especially regarding the treatment of product replacement and quality adjustment. Such measures may also help reduce the measurement bias that still exists in the HICP. Overall, a knowledge gap concerning the exact size of the measurement bias of the HICP remains, which calls for further research. More generally, the paper also finds that auxiliary inflation measures can play an important role in the ECB’s economic and monetary analyses. This applies not only to analytical series including OOH, but also to measures of underlying inflation or a cost of living index.
JEL Code
C43 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Index Numbers and Aggregation
C52 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
C82 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data, Data Access
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