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Border prices and retail prices

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

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 62-73

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:88:y:2012:i:1:p:62-73
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  1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2005. "International risk-sharing and the transmission of productivity shocks," International Finance Discussion Papers 826, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  4. Emi Nakamura & Dawit Zerom, 2010. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1192-1230.
  5. 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.
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  8. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2008. "Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices," Staff Report 404, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  12. 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.
  13. Gita Gopinath & Roberto Rigobon, 2008. "Sticky Borders," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 531-575, 05.
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  16. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:mar2 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2008. "Frequency of Price Adjustment and Pass-through," NBER Working Papers 14200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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