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Shocks vs. Responsiveness: What Drives Time-Varying Dispersion?

Listed author(s):
  • David Berger
  • Joseph Vavra

The dispersion of many economic variables is countercyclical. What drives this fact? Greater dispersion could arise from greater volatility of shocks or from agents responding more to shocks of constant size. Without data separately measuring exogenous shocks and endogenous responses, a theoretical debate between these explanations has emerged. In this paper, we provide novel identification using the open-economy environment: using confidential BLS microdata, we document a robust positive relationship between exchange rate pass-through and the dispersion of item-level price changes. We show this relationship arises naturally in models with time-varying responsiveness but is at odds with models featuring volatility shocks.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23143.

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Date of creation: Feb 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23143
Note: EFG IFM IO ME
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  1. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
  2. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2010. "Monetary Non-neutrality in a Multisector Menu Cost Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 961-1013.
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  4. 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.
  5. Cosmin Ilut & Matthias Kehrig & Martin Schneider, 2014. "Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire: Employment Dynamics with Asymmetric Responses to News," Department of Economics Working Papers 150113, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2014.
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  8. Burstein, Ariel & Gopinath, Gita, 2014. "International Prices and Exchange Rates," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
  9. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
  10. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2012. "Lost in Transit: Product Replacement Bias and Pricing to Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3277-3316, December.
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  12. Rita Fleer & Barbara Rudolf & Mathias Zurlinden, 2016. "Price change dispersion and time-varying pass-through to consumer prices," Working Papers 2016-17, Swiss National Bank.
  13. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio, 2016. "Shopping Externalities and Self-Fulfilling Unemployment Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 771-825.
  14. Peter J. Klenow & Jonathan L. Willis, 2016. "Real Rigidities and Nominal Price Changes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(331), pages 443-472, 07.
  15. Joseph Vavra, 2014. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Volatility: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 215-258.
  16. Isaac Baley & Julio A. Blanco, 2016. "Menu costs, uncertainty cycles, and the propagation of nominal shocks," Economics Working Papers 1532, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  17. Gita Gopinath & Roberto Rigobon, 2008. "Sticky Borders," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 531-575.
  18. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464.
  19. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1987. "Exchange Rates and Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 93-106, March.
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  21. repec:hrv:faseco:32116841 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. 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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