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Timo Reinelt

26 November 2021
Price inflation in the euro area has been stable and low since the Global Financial Crisis, despite notable changes in output and unemployment. We show that an increasing share of high markup firms is part of the explanation of why inflation remained stubbornly stable and low in the euro area over the past two decades. For this purpose, we exploit a rich firm-level database to show that over the period 1995–2018 the aggregate markup in the euro area has been on the rise, mainly on account of a reallocation towards high-markup firms. We document significant heterogeneity in markups across sectors and countries and, by linking these markup developments to the evolution of sectoral level producer and consumer price inflation, we find that (i) inflation in high-markup sectors tends to be less volatile than in low-markup sectors and (ii) inflation in high-markup sectors responds significantly less to oil supply, global demand and euro area monetary policy shocks.
JEL Code
D2 : Microeconomics→Production and Organizations
D4 : Microeconomics→Market Structure and Pricing
N1 : Economic History→Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics, Industrial Structure, Growth, Fluctuations
O3 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Technological Change, Research and Development, Intellectual Property Rights
Price Micro Setting Analysis Network (PRISMA)
25 June 2020
We document three new empirical facts: (i) monetary policy shocks increase the markup dispersion across firms, (ii) they increase the relative markup of firms with stickier prices, and (iii) firms with stickier prices have higher markups. This is consistent with a New Keynesian model in which price rigidity is heterogeneous across firms. In the model, firms with more rigid prices optimally set higher markups and their markups increase by more after monetary policy shocks. The consequent increase in markup dispersion explains a negative aggregate TFP response. In a calibrated model, monetary policy shocks generate substantial fluctuations in aggregate productivity.
JEL Code
E30 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→General
E50 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→General
ECB Lamfalussy Fellowship Programme