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Why are Retail Prices in Japan so High?: Evidence from German Export Prices

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  • Michael M. Knetter
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    Abstract

    It is well documented that retail prices in Japan are higher than in other countries for similar products. The two main competing explanations for this finding are: (1) a relatively high degree of discriminatory practices against imports and (2) relatively high distribution costs associated with getting goods to the point of final sale in Japan. The first of these explanations implies that foreign exporters should charge higher prices on shipments to Japan than elsewhere, provided at least some of the rent associated with restrictive practices can be captured by the exporter. For the vast majority of the 37 7-digit German export industries studied here, the data are consistent with this implication. Prices on shipments to Japan appear to be significantly higher than prices on shipments to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4894.

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    Date of creation: Oct 1994
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    Publication status: published as International Journal of Industrial Organization (August 1997): 549-572.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4894

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    1. Sven W. Arndt & J. David Richardson, 1987. "Real-Financial Linkages Among Open Economies," NBER Working Papers 2230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Giovannini, Alberto, 1988. "Exchange rates and traded goods prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 45-68, February.
    3. Gary R. Saxonhouse, 1993. "What Does Japanese Trade Structure Tell Us about Japanese Trade Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 21-43, Summer.
    4. repec:fth:michin:337 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Knetter, Michael M, 1989. "Price Discrimination by U.S. and German Exporters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 198-210, March.
    6. Paul Krugman, 1986. "Pricing to Market when the Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 1926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Isard, Peter, 1977. "How Far Can We Push the "Law of One Price"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 942-48, December.
    8. Knetter, Michael M, 1994. "Did the Strong Dollar Increase Competition in U.S. Product Markets?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 192-95, February.
    9. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
    10. Berry, S. & Linsohn, J. & Pakes, A., 1997. "Voluntary Export Restraints on Automobiles: Evaluating a Strategic Trade Policy," Working Papers 393, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    11. Marston, Richard C., 1990. "Pricing to market in Japanese manufacturing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 217-236, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Campa, Jose Manuel & Goldberg, Linda S, 1999. "Investment, Pass-Through, and Exchange Rates: A Cross-Country Comparison," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 287-314, May.
    2. Noland, Marcus, 1995. "Why are prices in Japan so high?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 255-261, September.
    3. Gordhan K. Saini, 2009. "Non-Tariff Measures and Indian Textiles and Clothing Exports," Trade Working Papers 22407, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    4. Charles Engel, 1995. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 5394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Scott Bradford, 2000. "Rents, Votes, and Protection: Explaining the Structure of Trade Barriers Across Industries," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1717, Econometric Society.
    6. Engel, C. & Rogers, J.H., 1996. "Regional Patterns in the Law of One Price: The Roles of Geography vs. Currencies," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 96-01, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    7. Jean-Christian Lambelet & Alexander Mihailov, 2006. "The Triple-Parity Law," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 33, Society for Computational Economics.
    8. Gordhan K. Saini, 2009. "Non-tariff measures and Indian textiles and clothing exports," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2009-002, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.

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