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Consumer Search, Price Dispersion, And International Relative Price Fluctuations


  • George Alessandria


This article develops a model of consumer search consistent with the evidence of substantial price dispersion and time spent shopping within countries to study international deviations from the law of one price (LOP) and relative price fluctuations. Search frictions lead firms to price discriminate across markets based on the opportunity cost of search, which depends on the local wage. With productivity and taste shocks estimated from the data, deviations from the LOP are as volatile and persistent as in the data. Fluctuations in relative wages, real exchange rates, and the terms of trade are also consistent with the data. Copyright © (2009) by the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • George Alessandria, 2009. "Consumer Search, Price Dispersion, And International Relative Price Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(3), pages 803-829, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:50:y:2009:i:3:p:803-829

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhen Huo & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2015. "Tightening Financial Frictions on Households, Recessions, and Price Reallocations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 118-139, January.
    2. Correa-López Mónica & de Blas Beatriz, 2012. "International Transmission of Medium-Term Technology Cycles: Evidence from Spain as a Recipient Country," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-52, November.
    3. Auer, Raphael A. & Schoenle, Raphael S., 2016. "Market structure and exchange rate pass-through," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 60-77.
    4. Johannes Stroebel & Joseph Vavra, 2014. "House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices," NBER Working Papers 20710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Cavallari, Lilia, 2013. "Firms' entry, monetary policy and the international business cycle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 263-274.
    6. Mathä, Thomas Y. & Pierrard, Olivier, 2011. "Search in the product market and the real business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1172-1191, August.
    7. Luigi Paciello & Andrea Pozzi & Nicholas Trachter, 2013. "Price Dynamics with Customer Markets," EIEF Working Papers Series 1328, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Dec 2017.
    8. Strasser, Georg, 2013. "Exchange rate pass-through and credit constraints," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 25-38.
    9. repec:pal:imfecr:v:65:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41308-017-0036-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Yan Bai & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2015. "Demand Shocks and Open Economy Puzzles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 644-649, May.
    11. Ratul, Lahkar, 2011. "The dynamic instability of dispersed price equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(5), pages 1796-1827, September.
    12. repec:pal:imfecr:v:65:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41308-017-0037-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Cavallari, Lilia, 2013. "A note on firm entry, markups and the business cycle," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 528-535.
    14. Marina Glushenkova & Andros Kourtellos & Marios Zachariadis, 2016. "Barriers to price convergence," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 02-2016, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    15. Svetlana Fedoseeva & Laura M. Werner, 2016. "How linear is pricing-to-market? Empirical assessment of hysteresis and asymmetry of PTM," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1065-1090, May.
    16. Ryan Monarch, 2014. ""It's Not You, It's Me": Breakup In U.S.-China Trade Relationships," Working Papers 14-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    17. Punnoose Jacob & Lenno Uuskula, 2016. "Deep habits and exchange rate pass-through," CAMA Working Papers 2016-17, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    18. Stevens, Luminita & Chahrour, Ryan, 2015. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion and the Border Effect," Staff Report 522, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    19. Pennings, Steven, 2017. "Pass-through of competitors' exchange rates to US import and producer prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 41-56.
    20. Burstein, Ariel & Gopinath, Gita, 2014. "International Prices and Exchange Rates," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    21. Beatriz de Blas & Katheryn N. Russ, 2015. "Understanding Markups in the Open Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 157-180, April.
    22. Nicholas Trachter & Andrea Pozzi & Luigi Paciello, 2014. "Markups Dynamics with Customer Markets," 2014 Meeting Papers 39, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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