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Measuring U.S. international relative prices: a WARP view of the world

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  • Charles P. Thomas
  • Jaime Marquez
  • Sean Fahle
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    Abstract

    In this paper we construct a new measure of U.S. prices relative to those of its trading partners and use it to reexamine the behavior of U.S. net exports. Our measure differs from existing measures of the dollar's real effective exchange rate (REER) in that it explicitly incorporates both the difference in price levels between the United States and developing economies and the growing importance of these developing economies in world trade. Unlike existing REERs, our measure shows that relative U.S. prices have increased significantly over the past 15 years. In terms of simple correlations, the relationship between our measure of relative prices and U.S. net exports is much more coherent than that between existing REERs and net exports. To explore this relationship further, we use our measure to construct an index of foreign prices relevant for U.S. export volumes and reexamine several export equations. We find that export equations with the new index dominate those with previous measures in terms of in-sample fit, out-of-sample fit, and parameter constancy. In addition, we find that with the new index of foreign prices the estimated elasticity of U.S. exports with respect to foreign income is a good bit higher than the unitary elasticity found in previous studies using other price measures. This has implications for U.S. current account adjustment.

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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 917.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:917

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    Related research

    Keywords: Exports ; Foreign exchange rates ; Econometric models;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Goldstein, Morris & Khan, Mohsin S., 1985. "Income and price effects in foreign trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1041-1105 Elsevier.
    2. Robert C. Feenstra & Alan Heston & Marcel P. Timmer & Haiyan Deng, 2009. "Estimating Real Production and Expenditures across Nations: A Proposal for Improving the Penn World Tables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 201-212, February.
    3. Peter Hooper & John Morton, 1978. "Summary measures of the dollar's foreign exchange value," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 783-789.
    4. Dominique Desruelle & Alessandro Zanello, 1997. "A Primeron the IMF's Information Notice System," IMF Working Papers 97/71, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Catherine L. Mann, 1999. "Is the U.S. Trade Deficit Sustainable?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 47.
    6. Peter Hooper & J. David Richardson, 1991. "International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research," NBER Working Papers 3805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Anderson, Richard G & Thursby, Jerry G, 1986. "Confidence Intervals for Elasticity Estimators in Translog Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 647-56, November.
    8. Robert E. Lipsey & Linda Molinari & Irving B. Kravis, 1990. "Measures of Prices and Price Competitiveness in International Trade in Manufactured Goods," NBER Working Papers 3442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hans-Martin Krolzig & David Hendry, 1999. "Computer Automation of General-to-Specific Model Selection Procedures," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 314, Society for Computational Economics.
    10. Houthakker, Hendrik S & Magee, Stephen P, 1969. "Income and Price Elasticities in World Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(2), pages 111-25, May.
    11. Edouard B. Maciejewski, 1983. ""Real" Effective Exchange Rate Indices: A Re-Examination of the Major Conceptual and Methodological Issues (Les indices de taux de change effectifs "réels": un réexamen des p," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(3), pages 491-541, September.
    12. Granger, Clive W.J. & Hendry, David F., 2005. "A Dialogue Concerning A New Instrument For Econometric Modeling," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 278-297, February.
    13. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
    14. Menzie D. Chinn, 2005. "A Primer on Real Effective Exchange Rates: Determinants, Overvaluation, Trade Flows and Competitive Devaluation," NBER Working Papers 11521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Peter Hooper & J. David Richardson, 1991. "International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hoop91-1.
    16. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1990. "The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems," NBER Working Papers 3304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Ken Froot & Kenneth Rogoff, . "Perspectives on PPP and Long-Run Real Exchange Rates," Working Paper 32027, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    18. Martine Durand & Christophe Madaschi & Flavia Terribile, 1998. "Trends in OECD Countries' International Competitiveness: The Influence of Emerging Market Economies," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 195, OECD Publishing.
    19. Mico Loretan, 2005. "Indexes of the foreign exchange value of the dollar," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Win, pages 1-8.
    20. Michael P. Leahy, 1998. "New summary measures of the foreign exchange value of the dollar," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 811-818.
    21. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1971. "Price Competitiveness in World Trade," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number krav71-1.
    22. B. Dianne Pauls, 1987. "Measuring the foreign-exchange value of the dollar," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jun, pages 411-422.
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