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Discussion Paper

How Do Firms Adjust Prices in a High Inflation Environment?


Abstract: How do firms set prices? What factors do they consider, and to what extent are cost increases passed through to prices? While these are important questions in general, they become even more salient during periods of high inflation. In this blog post, we highlight preliminary results from ongoing research on firms’ price-setting behavior, a joint project between researchers at the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Cleveland, and New York. We use a combination of open-ended interviews and a quantitative survey in our analysis. Firms reported that the strength of demand was the most important factor affecting pricing decisions in recent years, while labor costs and maintaining steady profit margins were also highly important. Using three methodological approaches, we consistently estimate a rate of cost-price passthrough in the range of 60 percent for the representative firm over 2022-23—with considerable heterogeneity in this number across firms.

Keywords: inflation; Price level; Price-setting; decision making; microeconomics;

JEL Classification: E31;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2023-06-02

Number: 20230602