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The Price Impact of Joining a Currency Union: Evidence from Latvia

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  • Alberto Cavallo
  • Brent Neiman
  • Roberto Rigobon

Abstract

Does membership in a currency union matter for a country's international relative prices? The answer to this question is critical for thinking about the implications of joining (or exiting) a common currency area. This paper is the first to use high-frequency good-level data to provide evidence that the answer is yes, at least for an important subset of consumption goods. We consider the case of Latvia, which recently dropped its pegged exchange rate and joined the euro zone. We analyze the prices of thousands of differentiated goods sold by Zara, the world's largest clothing retailer. Price dispersion between Latvia and euro zone countries collapsed swiftly following entry to the euro. The percentage of goods with nearly identical prices in Latvia and Germany increased from 6 percent to 89 percent. The median size of price differentials declined from 7 percent to zero. If a large number of firms also behave this way, these results suggest that membership in a currency union has significant implications for a country's real exchange rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Cavallo & Brent Neiman & Roberto Rigobon, 2014. "The Price Impact of Joining a Currency Union: Evidence from Latvia," NBER Working Papers 20225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20225
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zara et la convergence des prix en zone euro
      by ? in D'un champ l'autre on 2014-06-20 04:57:00

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    Cited by:

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    2. Harju, Jarkko & Kosonen, Tuomas & Skans, Oskar Nordström, 2018. "Firm types, price-setting strategies, and consumption-tax incidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 48-72.
    3. Mr. Camilo E Tovar Mora & Mr. Balazs Csonto & Yuxuan Huang, 2019. "Is Digitalization Driving Domestic Inflation?," IMF Working Papers 2019/271, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Sophie Piton, 2017. "Economic Integration and the Non-tradable Sector: The European Experience," 2017 Papers ppi361, Job Market Papers.
    5. Kano, Kazuko & Kano, Takashi, 2021. "Welfare Costs of Exchange Rate Fluctuations: Evidence from the 1972 Okinawa Reversion," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-114, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    6. Jaanika Meriküll & Tairi Rõõm, 2015. "One Currency, One Price? Euro Changeover-Related Inflation in Estonia," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 822-839, July.
    7. Jia Hou, 2020. "Revisiting the trade effects of the euro: data sources and various samples," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 59(6), pages 2731-2777, December.
    8. Mike Nyawo & Neil Rankin, 2020. "Price adjustment after hyperinflation in Zimbabwe," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 32(2), pages 240-256, June.
    9. T. G. Saji, 2019. "Can BRICS Form a Currency Union? An Analysis under Markov Regime-Switching Framework," Global Business Review, International Management Institute, vol. 20(1), pages 151-165, February.
    10. Nchake, Mamello A. & Edwards, Lawrence & Rankin, Neil, 2018. "Closer monetary union and product market integration in emerging economies: Evidence from the Common Monetary Area in Southern Africa," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 154-164.
    11. Luca Macedoni, 2021. "Has the Euro Shrunk the Band? Relative Purchasing Power Parity Convergence in a Currency Union," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 123(2), pages 593-620, April.
    12. Cosimo Petracchi, 2021. "The Mussa Puzzle: A Generalization," Working Papers 2021-001, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    13. Liu, Yue, 2016. "Price dispersion across countries and the heterogeneous impacts of income differences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 64-67.
    14. Papell, David H. & Prodan, Ruxandra, 2020. "Long-run purchasing power parity redux," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
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    16. Romero, Jaime & Cruz-Roche, Ignacio & Charron, Jean-Philippe, 2020. "The myth of price convergence under economic integration: A proposed explanation for the difference in food prices across European countries," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 267-276.

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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance

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