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Why Do Consumer Prices React Less Than Import Prices to Exchange Rates?

  • Philippe Bacchetta

    (Study Center Gerzensee, University of Lausanne, Center for Economic Policy Research,)

  • Eric van Wincoop

    (University of Virginia, National Bureau of Economic Research,)

It is well known that the extent of pass-through of exchange rate changes to consumer prices is much lower than to import prices. One explanation is local distribution costs. Here we consider an alternative, complementary explanation based on the optimal pricing strategies of firms. We consider a model where foreign exporting firms sell intermediate goods to domestic firms. Domestic firms assemble the imported intermediate goods and sell final goods to consumers. When domestic firms face significant competition from other domestic final goods producing sectors (e.g., the nontraded goods sector) we show that they prefer to price in domestic currency, while exporting firms tend to price in the exporter's currency. In that case the pass-through to import prices is complete, while the pass-through to consumer prices is zero. (JEL: F31, F41) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04/05)
Pages: 662-670

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:2-3:p:662-670
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  1. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2002. "Why Are Rates of Inflation So Low After large Devaluations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  3. Eric van Wincoop & Philippe Bacchetta, 2000. "Does Exchange-Rate Stability Increase Trade and Welfare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1093-1109, December.
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  7. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2002. "Macroeconomics of international price discrimination," International Finance Discussion Papers 744, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
  9. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti, 2001. "International Dimensions of Optimal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Campa, Jose M. & Goldberg, Linda S., 2002. "Exchange rate pass-through into import prices: A macro or micro phenomenon?," IESE Research Papers D/475, IESE Business School.
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