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The hitchhiker’s guide to missing import price changes and pass-through

Author

Listed:
  • Etienne Gagnon
  • Benjamin R. Mandel
  • Robert J. Vigfusson

Abstract

A large body of empirical work has found that exchange rate movements have only modest effects on inflation. However, the response of an import price index to exchange rate movements may be underestimated because some import price changes are missed when constructing the index. We investigate downward biases that arise when items experiencing a price change are especially likely to exit or to enter the index. We show that, in theoretical pricing models, entry and exit have different implications for the timing and size of these biases. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics microdata, we derive empirical bounds on the magnitude of these biases and construct alternative price indexes that are less subject to selection effects. Our analysis suggests that the biases induced by selective exits and entries do not materially alter the literature’s view that pass-through to U.S. import prices is low over the short- to medium-term horizons that are most useful for both forecasting and differentiating among economic models.

Suggested Citation

  • Etienne Gagnon & Benjamin R. Mandel & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2012. "The hitchhiker’s guide to missing import price changes and pass-through," Staff Reports 537, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:537
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berger, David & Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H. & Steverson, Kai, 2012. "Border prices and retail prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 62-73.
    2. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Frequency of Price Adjustment and Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 675-727.
    3. Leif Danziger, 1999. "A Dynamic Economy with Costly Price Adjustments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 878-901, September.
    4. Gust, Christopher & Leduc, Sylvain & Vigfusson, Robert, 2010. "Trade integration, competition, and the decline in exchange-rate pass-through," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 309-324, April.
    5. Mario Marazzi & Nathan Sheets & Robert J. Vigfusson & Jon Faust & Joseph E. Gagnon & Jaime R. Marquez & Robert F. Martin & Trevor A. Reeve & John H. Rogers, 2005. "Exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices: some new evidence," International Finance Discussion Papers 833, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. John S. Greenlees & Robert McClelland, 2011. "Does Quality Adjustment Matter for Technologically Stable Products? An Application to the CPI for Food," Working Papers 444, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    7. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki & Roberto Rigobon, 2010. "Currency Choice and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 304-336, March.
    8. Marazzi, Mario & Sheets, Nathan, 2007. "Declining exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices: The potential role of global factors," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 924-947, October.
    9. Neiman, Brent, 2010. "Stickiness, synchronization, and passthrough in intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 295-308, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Li & Gee Hee Hong, 2013. "Market Structure and Cost Pass-Through in Retail," Working Papers tecipa-470, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Foreign exchange rates ; Inflation (Finance) ; Imports - Prices ; Price indexes;

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