Heterogeneous Price Rigidities and Monetary Policy

By Christopher Clayton, Andreas Schaab and Xavier Jaravel


This paper investigates the implications of heterogeneous price rigidities across sectors for the distributional and aggregate effects of monetary policy. First, we identify and characterize analytically a new set of earnings and expenditure channels of monetary policy that emerge in the presence of sectoral heterogeneity. Second, we establish empirically that (i) prices are more rigid in sectors selling to college-educated households, (ii) prices are more rigid in sectors employing college-educated households, and (iii) sectors that employ college-educated households also sell more to these households. These new facts suggest that monetary policy stabilizes sectors that matter relatively more for college-educated households, due to an expenditure channel (from (i)), an earnings channel (from (ii)), and their amplification by feedback loops (from (iii)). Finally, we develop a multi-sector incomplete-markets Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian model, in which households of different education levels work and consume in different sectors. We quantify the aggregate and distributional effects from heterogeneous price rigidities using this model. In the baseline calibration, we find that the consumption of college-educated households is 22% more sensitive to monetary policy shocks as that of non-college households, while the aggregate real effect of monetary policy is 5% stronger than with homogeneous price rigidities.

The usual way to look at the distributional impact of monetary policy is too study types of household as they differ on income, assets or sector they work in. That paper takes a novel approach: the price rigidity differs by type of goods, and different types of households have different consumption baskets. Intriguing.

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