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Border prices and retail prices

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  • David Berger
  • Jon Faust
  • John H. Rogers
  • Kai Steverson

Abstract

We analyze retail prices and at-the-dock (import) prices of specific items in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) CPI and IPP databases, using both databases simultaneously to identify items that are identical in description at the dock and when sold at retail. This identification allows us to measure the distribution wedge associated with bringing traded goods from the point of entry into the United States to their retail outlet. We find that overall U.S. distribution wedges are 50-70%, around 10 to 20 percentage points higher than that reported in the literature. We discuss the implications of this for measuring the size of the "pure" tradeables sector, exchange rate pass-through, and real exchange rate determination. We find that distribution wedges are very stable over time but there is considerable variation across items. There is some variation across the country of origin for the imported item, for our major trading partners, but not as much as the cross-item variation. We also investigate the determinants of distribution wedges, finding that wedges do not vary systematically with exchange rates, but are related to other features of the micro data.

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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 972.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:972

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Keywords: Foreign exchange rates ; Prices;

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References

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  1. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2004. "Large Devaluations and the Real Exchange Rate," RCER Working Papers 513, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca & Leduc, Sylvain, 2008. "High exchange-rate volatility and low pass-through," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1113-1128, September.
  3. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca & Leduc, Sylvain, 2004. "International Risk Sharing and the Transmission of Productivity Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 4746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2007. "Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices," Working Paper Series 2007-26, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel & CÈdric Tille, 2003. "Exchange Rate Pass-Through and the Welfare Effects of the Euro," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 223-242, February.
  7. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2008. "Frequency of Price Adjustment and Pass-through," NBER Working Papers 14200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 96-02, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  9. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:mar2 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2002. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gita Gopinath & Roberto Rigobon, 2008. "Sticky Borders," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 531-575, 05.
  12. Linda S. Goldberg & José Manuel Campa, 2010. "The Sensitivity of the CPI to Exchange Rates: Distribution Margins, Imported Inputs, and Trade Exposure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 392-407, May.
  13. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki & Roberto Rigobon, 2007. "Currency Choice and Exchange Rate Pass-through," NBER Working Papers 13432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Neves, Joao C & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2001. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  16. Hamid Faruqee & Dalia Hakura & Ehsan U. Choudhri, 2002. "Explaining the Exchange Rate Pass-Through in Different Prices," IMF Working Papers 02/224, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464, November.
  18. Emi Nakamura & Dawit Zerom, 2010. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1192-1230.
  19. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Rebecca Hellerstein, 2008. "A Structural Approach to Explaining Incomplete Exchange-Rate Pass-Through and Pricing-to-Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 423-29, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Scott Davis & Mario Crucini, 2013. "Distribution capital and the short- and long-run import demand elasticity," 2013 Meeting Papers 453, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Etienne Gagnon & Benjamin R. Mandel & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2014. "Missing Import Price Changes and Low Exchange Rate Pass-Through," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 156-206, April.
  3. Dong, Wei, 2012. "The role of expenditure switching in the global imbalance adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 237-251.
  4. Michael Sposi, 2013. "Trade barriers and the relative price tradables," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 139, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  5. Marianne Baxter & Anthony Landry, 2012. "IKEA: product, pricing, and pass-through," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 132, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  6. Ariel Burstein & Gita Gopinath, 2013. "International Prices and Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 18829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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