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Explaining the Border Effect: The Role of Exchange Rate Variability, Shipping Costs, and Geography

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  • David C. Parsley
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

This paper exploits a three-dimensional panel data set of prices on 27 traded goods, over 88 quarters, across 96 cities in the U.S. and Japan. We show that a simple average of good-level real exchange rates tracks the nominal exchange rate well, suggesting strong evidence of sticky prices. Focusing on dispersion in prices between city-pairs, we find that crossing the U.S.-Japan Border' is equivalent to adding as much as 43,000 trillion miles to the cross-country volatility of relative prices. We turn next to economic explanations for this so-called border effect and to its dynamics. Distance, unit-shipping costs, and exchange rate variability, collectively, explain a substantial portion of the observed international market segmentation. Relative wage variability, on the other hand, has little independent impact on segmentation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7836.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Publication status: published as Parsley, David C. and Shang-Jin Wei. "Explaining The Border Effect: The Role Of Exchange Rae Variability, Shipping Costs, And Geography," Journal of International Economics, 2001, v55(1,Oct), 87-105.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7836

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  1. Parsley, David C. & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2001. "Explaining the border effect: the role of exchange rate variability, shipping costs, and geography," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 87-105, October.
  2. Charles Engel, 1992. "Real Exchange Rates and Relative Prices: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 4231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1994. "How Wide is the Border?," NBER Working Papers 4829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rogers, J.H. & Jenkins, M.A., 1993. "Haircuts or Hysteresis? Sources of Movements in Real Exchange Rates," Papers 4-93-6, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. Ken Froot & Kenneth Rogoff, . "Perspectives on PPP and Long-Run Real Exchange Rates," Working Paper 32027, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "A panel project on purchasing power parity: Mean reversion within and between countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 209-224, February.
  7. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  8. Parsley, David C & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1996. "Convergence to the Law of One Price without Trade Barriers or Currency Fluctuations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1211-36, November.
  9. Mario J. Crucini & Chris I. Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2000. "Dispersion in Real Exchange Rates," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0013, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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