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Asking About Prices Cover

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Asking About Prices

A New Approach to Understanding Price Stickiness

Why do consumer prices and wages adjust so slowly to changes in market conditions? The rigidity or stickiness of price setting in business is central to Keynesian economic theory and a key to understanding how monetary policy works, yet economists have made little headway in determining why it occurs. Asking About Prices offers a groundbreaking empirical approach to a puzzle for which theories abound but facts are scarce. Leading economist Alan Blinder, along with co-authors Elie Canetti, David Lebow, and Jeremy B. Rudd, interviewed a national, multi-industry sample of 200 CEOs, company heads, and other corporate price setters to test the validity of twelve prominent theories of price stickiness. Using everyday language and pertinent scenarios, the carefully designed survey asked decisionmakers how prominently these theoretical concerns entered into their own attitudes and thought processes. Do businesses tend to view the costs of changing prices as prohibitive? Do they worry that lower prices will be equated with poorer quality goods? Are firms more likely to try alternate strategies to changing prices, such as warehousing excess inventory or improving their quality of service? To what extent are prices held in place by contractual agreements, or by invisible handshakes? Asking About Prices offers a gold mine of previously unavailable information. It affirms the widespread presence of price stickiness in American industry, and offers the only available guide to such business details as what fraction of goods are sold by fixed price contract, how often transactions involve repeat customers, and how and when firms review their prices. Some results are surprising: contrary to popular wisdom, prices do not increase more easily than they decrease, and firms do not appear to practice anticipatory pricing, even when they can foresee cost increases. Asking About Prices also offers a chapter-by-chapter review of the survey findings for each of the twelve theories of price stickiness. The authors determine which theories are most popular with actual price setters, how practices vary within different business sectors, across firms of different sizes, and so on. They also direct economists' attention toward a rationale for price stickiness that does not stem from conventional theory, namely a strong reluctance by firms to antagonize or inconvenience their customers. By illuminating how company executives actually think about price setting, Asking About Prices provides an elegant model of a valuable new approach to conducting economic research.

Asset Price Dynamics, Volatility, and Prediction Cover

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Asset Price Dynamics, Volatility, and Prediction

Stephen J. Taylor

This book shows how current and recent market prices convey information about the probability distributions that govern future prices. Moving beyond purely theoretical models, Stephen Taylor applies methods supported by empirical research of equity and foreign exchange markets to show how daily and more frequent asset prices, and the prices of option contracts, can be used to construct and assess predictions about future prices, their volatility, and their probability distributions.

Stephen Taylor provides a comprehensive introduction to the dynamic behavior of asset prices, relying on finance theory and statistical evidence. He uses stochastic processes to define mathematical models for price dynamics, but with less mathematics than in alternative texts. The key topics covered include random walk tests, trading rules, ARCH models, stochastic volatility models, high-frequency datasets, and the information that option prices imply about volatility and distributions.

Asset Price Dynamics, Volatility, and Prediction is ideal for students of economics, finance, and mathematics who are studying financial econometrics, and will enable researchers to identify and apply appropriate models and methods. It will likewise be a valuable resource for quantitative analysts, fund managers, risk managers, and investors who seek realistic expectations about future asset prices and the risks to which they are exposed.

Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) and Regional Integration Cover

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Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) and Regional Integration

Robert Scollay, Christopher Findlay and Uwe Kaufmann

The origins, evolution and impact of the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement are examined in this book. ANZCERTA is often referred to as a benchmark for trade agreements. Not only does the book examine the agreement and how it evolved, but it also provides lessons for others, particularly in ASEAN, as they work on regional on bilateral economic relations. The special features of the Agreement are identified, and its evolution is charted. Current debates are reviewed, and assessments of its impact are discussed. Ten lessons for the designers of other agreements are presented.

Automatic Cover

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Automatic

Changing the Way America Saves

William G. Gale, J. Mark Iwry, David C. John, and Lina Walker

Automatic offers an innovative new way to think about how Americans can save for retirement.

Over the past quarter century, America's pension system has shifted away from defined benefit plans and toward defined contribution savings programs such as 401(k)s and IRAs. There is much to be done to improve the defined contribution system. Many workers fail to participate and those who do often contribute too little, invest the funds poorly, and are not adequately prepared to manage funds while in retirement.

To resolve these problems, the authors propose that employees should be automatically enrolled into a 401(k) plan when they are hired, with the right to opt out, change the amount that they contribute, or change investment choices if they choose. If the employer does not sponsor a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, they would be enrolled in a payroll deduction Automatic IRA. This vision of a transformed defined contribution system incorporates key positive features of defined benefit plans to improve retirement security. Employess contributions would increase over time, their investments would benefit from professional management and rebalancing, and they would receive lifetime income upon retirement. These automatic features will make the 401(k) and similar plans a more effective tool for retirement saving, and they can be extended to the many workers who do not currently have access to an employer plan.

In Automatic, the authors present proposals to implement automatic features in all phases of the 401(k) and in IRAs for workers with no employer plan. They also draw from the experience of countries that have implemented automatic saving structures.

Autonomie et mondialisation Cover

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Autonomie et mondialisation

Le Québec et la Catalogne à l'heure du libre-échange et de la Communauté européenne

Les nationalismes catalan, québécois et canadien - Le Québec, ses régions et la décentralisation - Le libre-échange - Le droit international à l'information face aux technologies de communication - Le marketing au Québec - Politique culturelle et gestion de la culture - Autonomie politique et conflit linguistique - Sentiment national et langue - Perspective culturelle.

Avoiding the Fall Cover

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Avoiding the Fall

China's Economic Restructuring

Michael Pettis

The days of rapid economic growth in China are over. Mounting debt and rising internal distortions mean that rebalancing is inevitable. Beijing has no choice but to take significant steps to restructure its economy. The only question is how to proceed.

Michael Pettis debunks the lingering bullish expectations for China's economic rise and details Beijing's options. The urgent task of shifting toward greater domestic consumption will come with political costs, but Beijing must increase household income and reduce its reliance on investment to avoid a fall.

Balancing the Economic Controls Cover

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Balancing the Economic Controls

A Review of the Economic Studies of the Employment Stabilization Research Institute, University of Minnesota

Russell Stevenson

Balancing the Economic Controls was first published in 1935. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This very readable little book summarizes the economic aspects of the five-year program of research recently concluded by the Employment Stabilization Research Institute. The recommendations made, which are specific and practical, are based on the findings assembled in the course of scores of intensive studies.The authors discuss the competitive position of Minnesota and the Northwest, the prospects for new industries, what they believe to be the probable future development of the region, where government control of business might be applied beneficially, and what other methods would help remedy present difficulties. The program they outline might be undertaken, they believe, without serious disruption of American economic institutions and with good prospect of bringing about a larger measure of economic stability than has been achieved thus far.

Balkan Smoke Cover

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Balkan Smoke

Tobacco and the Making of Modern Bulgaria

by Mary C. Neuburger

In Balkan Smoke, Mary Neuburger leads readers along the Bulgarian-Ottoman caravan routes and into the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Sofia. She reveals how a remote country was drawn into global economic networks through tobacco production and consumption and in the process became modern. In writing the life of tobacco in Bulgaria from the late Ottoman period through the years of Communist rule, Neuburger gives us much more than the cultural history of a commodity; she provides a fresh perspective on the genesis of modern Bulgaria itself.

The tobacco trade comes to shape most of Bulgaria's international relations; it drew Bulgaria into its fateful alliance with Nazi Germany and in the postwar period Bulgaria was the primary supplier of smokes (the famed Bulgarian Gold) for the USSR and its satellites. By the late 1960s Bulgaria was the number one exporter of tobacco in the world, with roughly one eighth of its population involved in production.

Through the pages of this book we visit the places where tobacco is grown and meet the merchants, the workers, and the peasant growers, most of whom are Muslim by the postwar period. Along the way, we learn how smoking and anti-smoking impulses influenced perceptions of luxury and necessity, questions of novelty, imitation, value, taste, and gender-based respectability. While the scope is often global, Neuburger also explores the politics of tobacco within Bulgaria. Among the book's surprises are the ways in which conflicts over the tobacco industry (and smoking) help to clarify the forbidding quagmire of Bulgarian politics.

The Bankers' New Clothes Cover

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The Bankers' New Clothes

What's Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It

Anat Admati

The past few years have shown that risks in banking can impose significant costs on the economy. Many claim, however, that a safer banking system would require sacrificing lending and economic growth. The Bankers’ New Clothes examines this claim and the narratives used by bankers, politicians, and regulators to rationalize the lack of reform, exposing them as invalid. Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig argue that we can have a safer and healthier banking system without sacrificing any of its benefits, and at essentially no cost to society. They seek to engage the broader public in the debate by cutting through the jargon of banking, clearing the fog of confusion, and presenting the issues in simple and accessible terms.

Banking on Reform Cover

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Banking on Reform

Political Parties and Central Bank Independence in the Industrial Democracies

William Bernhard

Banking on Reform examines the political determinants of recent reforms to monetary policy institutions in the industrial democracies. With these reforms, political parties have sought to draw on the political credibility of an independent central bank to cope with electoral consequences of economic internalization and deindustrialization. New Zealand and Italy made the initial efforts to grant their central banks independence. More recently, France, Spain, Britain, and Sweden have reformed their central banks' independence. Additionally, members of the European Union have implemented a single currency, with an independent European central bank to administer monetary policy. Banking on Reform stresses the politics surrounding the choice of these institutions, specifically the motivations of political parties. Where intraparty conflicts have threatened the party's ability to hold office, politicians have adopted an independent central bank. Where political parties have been secluded from the political consequences of economic change, reform has been thwarted or delayed. The drive toward a single currency also reflects these political concerns. By delegating monetary policy to the European level, politicians in the member states removed a potentially divisive issue from the domestic political agenda, allowing parties to rebuild their support constructed on the basis of other issues. William T. Bernhard provides a variety of evidence to support his argument, such as in-depth case accounts of recent central bank reforms in Italy and Britain, the role of the German Bundesbank in the policy process, and the adoption of the single currency in Europe. Additionally, he utilizes quantitative and statistical tests to enhance his argument. This book will appeal to political scientists, economists, and other social scientists interested in the political and institutional consequences of economic globalization. William T. Bernhard is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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