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Costly Information, Planning Complementarity and the New Keynesian Phillips Curve

Acharya, Sushant (2010): Costly Information, Planning Complementarity and the New Keynesian Phillips Curve.

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Abstract

I show that in a setting with costly information processing, strategic complementarity in pricing, by generating planning complementatrities, results in the aggregate price responding slowly to nominal shocks even though individual firm prices change by large amounts in response to idiosyncratic shocks. Klenow and Kryvtsov (2008) conclude that none of the commonly used pricing models is capable of matching all the facts from micro data and at the same time generate a large and persistent response to monetary policy. Unlike the standard state dependent pricing models which rely on physical costs of changing prices to generate unresponsiveness of prices, I instead focus on costs of planning and processing information, a channel which researchers have found empirically more important than physical costs of changing prices in determining pricing decisions of firms. The model is able to match all the features of micro pricing data and at the same time generates a sluggish response of aggregate price to monetary policy, thus predicting a short run Phillips curve. Also, the model generates firms behavior in which they set price plans rather than prices and also shows that firms may choose to index prices to long run inflation optimally as is often assumed in New-Keynesian models. The paper highlights the fact that to explain non-neutrality in the short run, prices need not be sticky, it is just that they do not contain all the information in the short run but become informationally efficient in the long run resulting in a long run neutrality result.

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