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Border effects within the NAFTA countries

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Author Info

  • John H. Rogers
  • Hayden P. Smith

Abstract

Using consumer price indexes from cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, we estimate the "border effect" on U.S.-Mexican relative prices and find that it is nearly an order of magnitude larger than for U.S.-Canadian prices. However, during a very stable sub-period in Mexico (May 1988 to November 1994), the "width" of the U.S.-Mexican border falls dramatically and becomes approximately equal to the U.S.-Canadian border. We then show that when consideration is limited to cities lying geographically very close to the U.S.-Mexican border--San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Tijuana, Mexicali, Juarez, and Matamoros--the border width falls compared to that estimated with the full sample of U.S. and Mexican cities, but falls only very slightly. We also present evidence that the border effect in U.S.-Mexican prices is not primarily due to the border effect in U.S.-Mexican wages. Finally, using the prices of 276 highly dis-aggregated goods and services, we estimate the variability of relative prices of different items within Mexican cities. This measure of relative price variability declines during the stable peso sub-period, but by less than the decline in nominal and real (i.e., CPI-based) exchange rate variability. Our results are strong evidence of a "nominal border effect" in relative prices within NAFTA, but also indicate that real side influences are important.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 698.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:698

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Keywords: North American Free Trade Agreement ; Trade ; Prices;

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References

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  1. Vining, Daniel R, Jr & Elwertowski, Thomas C, 1976. "The Relationship between Relative Prices and the General Price Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 699-708, September.
  2. Engel, C. & Rogers, J.H., 1995. "How Wide is the Border?," Papers 4-95-16, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
  4. Domberger, Simon, 1987. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation: A Disaggregated Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 547-66, June.
  5. Debelle, Guy & Lamont, Owen, 1997. "Relative Price Variability and Inflation: Evidence from U.S. Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 132-52, February.
  6. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H., 2001. "Deviations from purchasing power parity: causes and welfare costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 29-57, October.
  7. Parks, Richard W, 1978. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-95, February.
  8. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1999. "Violating the Law of One Price: Should We Make a Federal Case Out of It?," NBER Working Papers 7242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Nelson C. Mark & Robert J. Sonora, 2000. "Price Level Convergence Among United States Cities: Lessons for the European Central Bank," NBER Working Papers 7681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 1985. "Staggered Contracts and the Frequency of Price Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 935-59, Supp..
  11. Raymond Robertson, 2000. "Wage Shocks and North American Labor-Market Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 742-764, September.
  12. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  13. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 2000. "Exchange rate dynamics in a model of pricing-to-market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 215-244, February.
  14. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 1998. "Fixed vs. Floating Exchange Rates: How Price Setting Affects the Optimal Choice of Exchange-Rate Regime," NBER Working Papers 6867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Parsley, David C, 1996. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability in the Short and Long Run: New Evidence from the United States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 323-41, August.
  16. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," NBER Working Papers 5215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Rogers, John H. & Jenkins, Michael, 1995. "Haircuts or hysteresis? Sources of movements in real exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 339-360, May.
  18. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-89, April.
  19. Mendoza, Enrique G., 2000. "On the Instability of Variance Decompositions of the Real Exchange Rate Across Exchange- Rate-Regimes: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Working Papers 00-05, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  20. Bomberger, William A & Makinen, Gail E, 1993. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability: Parks' Study Reexamined," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(4), pages 854-61, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Charles Engel, 2000. "Optimal Exchange Rate Policy: The Influence of Price Setting and Asset Markets," NBER Working Papers 7889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wimanda, Rizki E., 2009. "Price variability and price convergence: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 427-442, September.

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