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Estimating the border effect: some new evidence

  • Gita Gopinath
  • Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
  • Chang-Tai Hsieh
  • Nicholas Li

To what extent do national borders and national currencies impose costs that segment markets across countries? To answer this question the authors use a dataset with product-level retail prices and wholesale costs for a large grocery chain with stores in the United States and Canada. They develop a model of pricing by location and employ a regression discontinuity approach to estimate and interpret the border effect. They report three main facts: One, the median absolute retail price and wholesale cost discontinuities between adjacent stores on either side of the U.S.-Canadian border are as high as 21 percent. In contrast, within-country border discontinuity is close to 0 percent. Two, the variation in the retail price gap at the border is almost entirely driven by variation in wholesale costs, not by variation in markups. Three, the border gaps in prices and costs co-move almost one-to-one with changes in the U.S.-Canadian nominal exchange rate. They show these facts suggest that the price gaps they estimate provide only a lower bound on border costs.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 09-10.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:09-10
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  1. Thomas J. Holmes, 2006. "The Diffusion of Wal-Mart and Economies of Density," 2006 Meeting Papers 15, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Mario J. Crucini & Chris I. Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2005. "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 724-738, June.
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  13. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
  14. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "Border Effect or Country Effect? Seattle May Not Be So Far from Vancouver After All," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-41, January.
  15. Mario J. Crucini & Mototsugu Shintani, 2006. "Persistence in Law-Of-One-Price Deviations: Evidence from Micro-Data," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0616, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  16. Atish R. Ghosh & Holger C. Wolf, 1994. "Pricing in International Markets: Lessons From The Economist," NBER Working Papers 4806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hassink, Wolter & Schettkat, Ronald, 2001. "On Price-Setting for Identical Products in Markets without Formal Trade Barriers," IZA Discussion Papers 315, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "On Hotelling's "Stability in competition"," CORE Discussion Papers RP -385, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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