NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Michael Davis

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Working Papers

June 2003Why Are Prices Sticky? The Dynamics of Wholesale Gasoline Prices
with James D. Hamilton: w9741
The menu-cost interpretation of sticky prices implies that the probability of a price change should depend on the past history of prices and fundamentals only through the gap between the current price and the frictionless price. We find that this prediction is broadly consistent with the behavior of 9 Philadelphia gasoline wholesalers. We nevertheless reject the menu-cost model as a literal description of these firms' behavior, arguing instead that price stickiness arises from strategic considerations of how customers and competitors will react to price changes.

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