We present new survey evidence on pricing behavior for more than 14,000 European firms, and study its macroeconomic implications. Among firms that are price setters, roughly 75% respond that their prices are set as a markup on total costs, a business practice termed “full cost pricing”. Only 25% set prices as markups over variable or marginal costs. Moreover, using industry data for the U.S., we find that the correlation between changes in output prices and changes in variable input prices is significantly lower when fixed costs are likely to be more important. Since our results are similar to the findings in the classic and controversial paper of Hall and Hitch (1939) and subsequent survey evidence, we believe it worth studying the implications of full cost pricing for macroeconomics. We first propose a problem for the firm where full cost pricing can arise as optimizing behavior. We embed this problem, featuring an occasionally binding constraint, into a simple general equilibrium model. We show that when the model is hit by a shock that makes the constraint binding, the response of endogenous variables is amplified significantly more than it would be under the unconstrained regime.

Average-cost pricing: Some evidence and implications

ALTOMONTE, CARLO;BARATTIERI, ALESSANDRO EUGENIO MARIA;
2015-01-01

Abstract

We present new survey evidence on pricing behavior for more than 14,000 European firms, and study its macroeconomic implications. Among firms that are price setters, roughly 75% respond that their prices are set as a markup on total costs, a business practice termed “full cost pricing”. Only 25% set prices as markups over variable or marginal costs. Moreover, using industry data for the U.S., we find that the correlation between changes in output prices and changes in variable input prices is significantly lower when fixed costs are likely to be more important. Since our results are similar to the findings in the classic and controversial paper of Hall and Hitch (1939) and subsequent survey evidence, we believe it worth studying the implications of full cost pricing for macroeconomics. We first propose a problem for the firm where full cost pricing can arise as optimizing behavior. We embed this problem, featuring an occasionally binding constraint, into a simple general equilibrium model. We show that when the model is hit by a shock that makes the constraint binding, the response of endogenous variables is amplified significantly more than it would be under the unconstrained regime.
2015
Altomonte, Carlo; Barattieri, ALESSANDRO EUGENIO MARIA; Basu, Susanto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/3986302
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