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Who bears the cost of a change in the exchange rate? Pass-through accounting for the case of beer

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  • Hellerstein, Rebecca

Abstract

Nominal exchange rates are remarkably volatile. They ordinarily appear disconnected from the fundamentals of the economies whose currencies they price. These facts make up a classic puzzle about the international economy. If prices do not respond fully to changes in the nominal exchange rate, who bears the cost of such large and unpredictable changes: foreign firms, domestic firms, or domestic consumers? This study presents a new analysis of the sources of incomplete pass-through and then uses this analysis to re-examine its implications for social welfare. I develop and estimate a structural model that analyzes the sources of local-currency price stability for a particular industry. The model enables counterfactual simulations that quantify the relative importance of firms' local-cost components and markup adjustments in the incomplete transmission of exchange-rate shocks to prices and the effect of the exchange-rate shock on domestic and foreign firms' profits and on consumer surplus. The model is applied to a panel dataset of one industry with retail and wholesale prices for UPC-level products. I find that markup adjustments by manufacturers and the retailer explain roughly half of the incomplete transmission and local-cost components account for the other half. Foreign manufacturers generally bear a greater cost (or reap a greater benefit) following an exchange-rate-induced marginal-cost shock than do domestic consumers, domestic manufacturers, or the domestic retailer.

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  • Hellerstein, Rebecca, 2008. "Who bears the cost of a change in the exchange rate? Pass-through accounting for the case of beer," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 14-32, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:76:y:2008:i:1:p:14-32
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