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A Theory of the Currency Denomination of International Trade

  • Philippe Bacchetta
  • Eric van Wincoop

Nominal rigidities due to menu costs have become a standard element in closed economy macroeconomic modelling. The 'New Open Economy Macroeconomics' literature has investigated the implications of nominal rigidities in an open economy context and found that the currency in which prices are set has significant implications for exchange rate pass-through to import prices, the level of trade and net capital flows, and optimal monetary and exchange rate policy. While the literature has exogenously assumed in which currencies goods are priced, in this paper we solve for the equilibrium optimal pricing strategies of firms. We find that the higher the market share of an exporting country in an industry, and the more differentiated its goods, the more likely its exporters will price in the exporter's currency. Country size and the cyclicality of real wages play a role as well, but are empirically less important. We also show that when a set of countries forms a monetary union, the new currency is likely to be used more extensively in trade than the sum of the currencies it replaces.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 01.13.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of International Economics, vol. 67 (2), December 2005, pp. 295-319
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:01.13
Contact details of provider: Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: ++41 21 692.33.64
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 2002. "Why Do Consumer Prices React less than Import Prices to Exchange Rates ?," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 02.18, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  2. J. McCarthy, 1999. "Pass-through of exchange rates and import prices to domestic inflation in some industrialised economies," BIS Working Papers 79, Bank for International Settlements.
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  7. Obstfeld, Maurice, 2002. "Exchange Rates and Adjustment: Perspectives from the New Open Economy Macroeconomics," CEPR Discussion Papers 3533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Sutherland, Alan, 2002. "Incomplete Pass-Through and the Welfare Effects of Exchange Rate Variability," CEPR Discussion Papers 3431, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Bacchetta, Philippe & van Wincoop, Eric, 2002. "A Theory of Currency Denomination of International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 3120, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Rey, Hélène, 1999. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," CEPR Discussion Papers 2226, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  20. Hummels, David, 1999. "Toward a Geography of Trade Costs," GTAP Working Papers 1162, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
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  24. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 1998. "Does Exchange Rate Stability Increase Trade and Capital Flows?," Working Papers 98.04, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  25. Robert C. Feenstra & Joseph E. Gagnon & Michael M. Knetter., 1993. "Market share and exchange rate pass-through in world automobile trade," International Finance Discussion Papers 446, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  28. 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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  36. Bekx, P. & Directorate General II - Economic and Financial Affairs, 1998. "The Implications of the Introduction of the Euro for Non-EU Countries," Papers 26, Commission of the EEC - Euro Papers.
  37. Hartmann, Philipp, 1998. "The Currency Denomination of World Trade after European Monetary Union," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 424-454, December.
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  39. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2001. "Endogenous Currency of Price Setting in a Dynamic Open Economy Model," NBER Working Papers 8559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Friberg, Richard, 1998. "In which currency should exporters set their prices?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 59-76, June.
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