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The Distributional Consequences of Large Devaluations

Listed author(s):
  • Javier Cravino

    (University of Michigan and NBER)

  • Andrei A. Levchenko

    (University of Michigan, NBER, and CEPR)

We study the differential impact of large exchange rate devaluations on the cost of living at different points on the income distribution. Across product categories, the poor have relatively high expenditure shares in tradeable products. Within tradeable product categories, the poor consume lower-priced varieties. Changes in the relative price of tradeables and the relative prices of lower-priced varieties following a devaluation will affect the cost of the consumption basket of the low-income households relative that of the high-income households. We quantify these effects following the 1994 Mexican peso devaluation and show that their distributional consequences can be large. In the two years that follow the devaluation, the cost of the consumption basket of those in the bottom decile of the income distribution rose between 1.46 and 1.6 times more than the cost of the consumption basket for the top income decile.

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File URL: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/Papers626-650/r648.pdf
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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 648.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2015
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:648
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Web page: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/
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  1. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2005. "Large Devaluations and the Real Exchange Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 742-784, August.
  2. Bems, Rudolfs & di Giovanni, Julian, 2014. "Income-Induced Expenditure Switching," CEPR Discussion Papers 9887, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  10. Ahlin, Christian & Shintani, Mototsugu, 2007. "Menu costs and Markov inflation: A theoretical revision with new evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 753-784, April.
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  14. Porto, Guido G., 2006. "Using survey data to assess the distributional effects of trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 140-160, September.
  15. Burstein, Ariel T. & Neves, Joao C. & Rebelo, Sergio, 2003. "Distribution costs and real exchange rate dynamics during exchange-rate-based stabilizations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1189-1214, September.
  16. Etienne Gagnon, 2009. "Price Setting during Low and High Inflation: Evidence from Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1221-1263.
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