Price Asynchronization and Price Level Inertia

38 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2004

See all articles by Olivier J. Blanchard

Olivier J. Blanchard

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Date Written: June 1982

Abstract

If price decisions are taken neither continuously nor in perfect synchronization, the process of adjustment of all prices to a new nominal level will imply temporary movements in relative prices. It might then well be that, to avoid these movements in relative prices, each price setter will want to move his own price slowly compared to others. The result will be a slow movement of all prices to their new nominal level, and substantial inertia of the price level. This paper formalizes this intuitive argument and reaches four main conclusions: (1) Even small departures from perfect synchronization can generate substantial price level inertia. (2) If price decisions are desynchronized, even anticipated movements in money will usually have an effect on economic activity. It is however possible to find paths of money deceleration which reduce inflation at no cost in output. (3) Price desynchronization has implications for relative price movements as well as for the price level. Goods early in the chain of production have more price and profit variability than goods further down the chain. (4) Price inertia, if it is due to price desynchronization, may be difficult to remove. It may well be that, given the timing decisions of others, no agent has an incentive to change his own timing decision: the time structure of price desynchronization may be stable.

Suggested Citation

Blanchard, Olivier J., Price Asynchronization and Price Level Inertia (June 1982). NBER Working Paper No. w0900. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=299780

Olivier J. Blanchard (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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