Harvard financial economist Alberto Cavallo empirically shows the recent *Amazon effect* of faster retail price adjustments.

Amy Hamilton

2018-08-23 11:34:00 Thu ET

Harvard financial economist Alberto Cavallo empirically shows the recent *Amazon effect* that online retailers such as Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay etc use fast multi-channel pricing algorithms to determine the retail prices of consumer goods and services. As online purchases now account for a much greater share of total retail sales, the Cavallo study shows that the average duration of American retail prices at Amazon and Walmart significantly declines from 6.5 months to 3.7 months. For central bankers and monetary policymakers who often monitor transitional inflation dynamism from time to time, retail prices are subject to more frequent adjustments with less insulation from common nationwide shocks. Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay etc can now use smart retail-pricing algorithms to take into account energy prices, exchange-rate fluctuations, and other forces that might affect both production and delivery costs.

This important empirical evidence shakes confidence in the conventional notion of sticky prices that sellers often cannot adjust retail prices or menu costs right away in response to systemic changes in aggregate macroeconomic demand and supply. For better monetary policy conduct, the Cavallo study demonstrates that our macro focus needs to move beyond nominal price rigidities in dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) sticky-price macro models. Labor market frictions, information asymmetries, and even behavioral inattention costs tend to disappear, or at least decrease in relative importance, as more online retailers apply smart algorithms to price consumer goods and services.

This core implication poses a conceptual challenge to the New Keynesian Phillips Curve (NKPC) that depicts an inverse link between inflation and unemployment at least in the short run. The U.S. economy can revert to the long-run steady state at a faster pace as the Amazon effect induces more frequent retail price adjustments toward dynamic equilibrium values.

U.S. core inflation excludes both food and energy prices and hovers around 2% in mid-2018. As the economy operates near full employment with fresh inflationary momentum, the tech-savvy adoption of smart algorithms can drive fast and volatile retail price adjustments. The Federal Reserve thus has to consider further interest rate hikes to curtail inflation. In light of Trump tax cuts, infrastructure expenditures, and tariffs on imports from China, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Mexico etc, this monetary policy coordination accords with the Federal Reserve's congressional dual mandate of both maximum employment and price stability.

 


If any of our AYA Analytica financial health memos (FHM), blog posts, ebooks, newsletters, and notifications etc, or any other form of online content curation, involves potential copyright concerns, please feel free to contact us at service@ayafintech.network so that we can remove relevant content in response to any such request within a reasonable time frame.

Blog+More
U.S. inflation has become sustainably less than the 2% policy target in recent years.
Jonah Whanau

2019-08-03 09:28:00 Saturday ET

U.S. inflation has become sustainably less than the 2% policy target in recent years.

U.S. inflation has become sustainably less than the 2% policy target in recent years. As Harvard macro economist Robert Barro indicates, U.S. inflation has

+See More
Mario Draghi declares the ECB agreement on a thorny set of revisions to Basel 3.
Rose Prince

2017-11-25 06:34:00 Saturday ET

Mario Draghi declares the ECB agreement on a thorny set of revisions to Basel 3.

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, heads the international committee of financial supervisors and has declared their landmark agreement o

+See More
Former Vice President Joe Biden enters the next U.S. presidential race with many moderate policy proposals.
Monica McNeil

2019-05-05 10:34:00 Sunday ET

Former Vice President Joe Biden enters the next U.S. presidential race with many moderate policy proposals.

Former Vice President Joe Biden enters the next U.S. presidential race with many moderate-to-progressive policy proposals. At the age of 76, Biden stands ou

+See More
AYA Analytica podcast provides fresh insights into the latest stock market news, economic trends, and investment portfolio strategies.
Andy Yeh Alpha

2018-12-29 09:32:00 Saturday ET

AYA Analytica podcast provides fresh insights into the latest stock market news, economic trends, and investment portfolio strategies.

Andy Yeh Alpha (AYA) AYA Analytica financial health memo (FHM) podcast channel on YouTube December 2018 AYA Analytica is our online regular podcast and news

+See More
Most major economies grow with great synchronicity several years after the global financial crisis.
John Fourier

2018-01-19 11:32:00 Friday ET

Most major economies grow with great synchronicity several years after the global financial crisis.

Most major economies grow with great synchronicity several years after the global financial crisis. These economies experience high stock market valuation,

+See More
Timothy Geithner shares his reflections on the post-crisis macro financial stress tests for U.S. banks.
Fiona Sydney

2021-04-20 09:31:00 Tuesday ET

Timothy Geithner shares his reflections on the post-crisis macro financial stress tests for U.S. banks.

Timothy Geithner shares his reflections on the post-crisis macro financial stress tests for U.S. banks. Timothy Geithner (2014)   Macrofinanci

+See More