Exchange Rate Pass-Through and Irish Import Prices
This study assesses the extent to which exchange rate changes affect Irish import prices (i.e. the extent of exchange rate pass-through, PT) by analysing data from the 1963 to 1995 period. The paper fills two important gaps in the literature: i) by making due allowance for the time series properties of the data and ii) by concentrating on the case of a small open economy. The majority of international empirical studies in the area do not provide support for full, or close to full, PT. Reasons put forward for this finding include the "menu" costs associated with altering prices, hedging techniques, intra-firm pricing by multinationals, the existence of non-tariff barriers, and the entry/exit of firms associated with exchange rate induced price changes. If the proposition of monetary neutrality is accepted, however, full PT would be expected to hold over the medium to long run. Many previous studies assess the degree of PT by relating import prices to the exchange rate, foreign costs and domestic competing prices. The usual approach involves estimating a single equation and using the estimated coefficients to assess the degree of PT. It is argued in this paper, however, that such single equation estimation will lead to estimates of the degree of PT which appear too low because the strong relationship between import and domestic-competing prices will not be properly taken into account using such a technique. This study makes use of the so-called Johansen technique to allow for this problem and uncovers two long-run relationships among the data, i.e. one between import unit values, the exchange rate and foreign costs and another between domestic competing prices and the same two variables. In so doing, it confirms the existence of very close to full PT in the case of both Irish import prices and domestic competing prices. Many of the previous results in the literature demonstrating substantially less than full PT may be due to the failure to make proper allowance for the time series properties of the data or for the strong relationship which exists between import and domestic competing prices. Finally, it is found that the speed of adjustment to the long-run relationships appears to be quite low, thus supporting the existence of incomplete PT in the short run.
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