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Local Costs of Distribution, International Trade Costs and Micro Evidence on the Law of One Price

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  • Giri, Rahul

Abstract

Observed trade flows provide one metric to gauge the degree of international goods market segmentation. Deviations from the law of one price provide another. New survey data on retail prices for a broad cross section of goods across 13 EU countries, compiled by Crucini, Telmer and Zachariadis (2005), show that (i) the average dispersion of law of one price deviations across all goods is 28 percent and (ii) the range of that dispersion across goods is large, varying from 2 percent to 83 percent. Quantitative multi-country Ricardian models, a la Eaton and Kortum, use data on bilateral trade volumes to estimate international trade barriers or trade costs. This paper investigates whether the degree of international goods market segmentation implied by these models can account for observed cross-country dispersion in prices. When heterogeneous and asymmetric trade costs are carefully calibrated to match observed bilateral trade volumes, the model can account for 85 percent of the average dispersion of law of one price deviations found in the data. However, it generates only 21 percent of the good by good variation in price dispersion. The model is augmented to permit heterogeneity in local costs of distribution - across goods and countries - and is calibrated to match data on distribution margins. While the augmented model can reproduce 96.5 percent of the average dispersion of law of one price deviations, it can match only 32 percent of the variation in that dispersion. Heterogeneity in trade costs, and in local distribution costs, cannot account for observed heterogeneity in the dispersion of law of one price deviations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11006.

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Date of creation: 12 Aug 2008
Date of revision: 31 Sep 2008
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11006

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Keywords: Trade; international trade costs; distribution costs; law of one price; price dispersion;

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References

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  1. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  2. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "Border Effect or Country Effect? Seattle May Not Be So Far from Vancouver After All," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-41, January.
  3. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," CEP Discussion Papers dp0667, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Haskel, Jonathan & Wolf, Holger, 2001. " The Law of One Price--A Case Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 545-58, December.
  5. Ariel T. Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilizations," RCER Working Papers 473, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  7. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  8. Robert E. Cumby, 1996. "Forecasting Exchange Rates and Relative Prices with the Hamburger Standard: Is What You Want What You Get With McParity?," NBER Working Papers 5675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. University of Iowa & Michael E. Waugh, 2007. "International Trade and Income Differences," 2007 Meeting Papers 492, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 2006. "Distribution margins, imported inputs, and the sensitivity of the CPI to exchange rates," Staff Reports 247, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  13. Fernando Alvarez & Robert E. Lucas, 2005. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Eaton-Kortum Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  18. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers & Shing-Yi B. Wang, 2003. "Revisiting the Border: an assessment of the law of one price using very disaggregated consumer price data," International Finance Discussion Papers 777, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 2004. "European product market integration after the euro," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 19(39), pages 347-384, 07.
  20. Mario Crucini & Chris Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, . "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," GSIA Working Papers 227, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
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Cited by:
  1. Jörgensen, Christian & Persson, Morten, 2013. "The Market for Tractors in the EU: Price Differences and Convergence," Factor Markets Working Papers 145, Centre for European Policy Studies.
  2. Mario J. Crucini & Christopher I. Telmer, 2012. "Microeconomic Sources of Real Exchange Rate Variability," NBER Working Papers 17978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Betts, Caroline & Giri, Rahul & Verma, Rubina, 2013. "Trade, Reform, And Structural Transformation in South Korea," MPRA Paper 49540, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Michael Sposi, 2013. "Trade barriers and the relative price tradables," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 139, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

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