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In search of real rigidities

  • Gita Gopinath
  • Oleg Itskhoki

The closed and open economy literatures both work on evaluating the role of real rigidities, but in parallel. This paper brings the two literatures together. We use international price data and exchange rate shocks to evaluate the importance of real rigidities in price setting. We show that, consistent with the presence of real rigidities, the response of reset-price inflation to exchange rate shocks exhibits significant persistence. Individual import prices, conditional on changing, respond to exchange rate shocks prior to the last price change. At the same time, aggregate reset-price inflation for imports, like that for consumer prices, exhibits little persistence. Competitor prices affect firm pricing, and exchange rate pass-through into import prices is greater in response to trade-weighted, as opposed to bilateral, exchange rate shocks. We quantitatively evaluate sticky-price models (Calvo and menu cost) with variable markups at the wholesale level and constant markups at the retail level, consistent with empirical evidence. Variable markups alone generate price sluggishness at the aggregate level, while they fall short of matching price persistence at the micro level. Finally, variable markups magnify the size of the contract multiplier, but their absolute effects are modest unless they are coupled with exogenous sources of persistence.

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File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/wp/wp2010/wp1009.htm
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 10-9.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:10-9
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  1. 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.
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  4. Gita Gopinath & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Nicholas Li, 2009. "Estimating the border effect: some new evidence," Working Papers 09-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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  17. Nakamura, Emi & Zerom, Dawit, 2008. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," MPRA Paper 14389, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2000. "Sticky Price Models of the Business Cycle: Can the Contract Multiplier Solve the Persistence Problem?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
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