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The Distributional Consequences of Large Devaluations

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  • Javier Cravino
  • Andrei A. Levchenko

Abstract

We study the impact of large exchange rate devaluations on the cost of living at different points on the income distribution. Poor households spend relatively more on tradeable product categories, and consume lower-priced varieties within categories. Changes in the relative price of tradeables and of lower-priced varieties affect the cost of living of low-income relative to high-income households. We quantify these effects following the 1994 Mexican devaluation and show that they can have large distributional consequences. Two years post-devaluation, the cost of living for the bottom income decile rose 1.48 to 1.62 times more than for the top income decile.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Cravino & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2017. "The Distributional Consequences of Large Devaluations," NBER Working Papers 23409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23409
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    Cited by:

    1. Barthélémy Bonadio & Andreas M Fischer & Philip Sauré, 2020. "The Speed of Exchange Rate Pass-Through," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 506-538.
    2. Holger Breinlich & Elsa Leromain & Dennis Novy & Thomas Sampson, 2019. "Exchange Rates and Consumer Prices: Evidence from Brexit," CESifo Working Paper Series 8001, CESifo.
    3. Julio Blanco & Javier Cravino, 2018. "Price Rigidities and the Relative PPP," 2018 Meeting Papers 346, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Andres Blanco & Andres Drenik, 2019. "Labor Income Risk in Large Devaluations," 2019 Meeting Papers 1292, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Almås, Ingvild & Kjelsrud, Anders, 2017. "Rags and Riches: Relative Prices, Non-Homothetic Preferences, and Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 102-121.
    6. Anatoli Colicev & Joris Hoste & Jozef Konings, 2019. "Exchange Rate Pass-through after a Large Depreciation," Working Papers 201902, University of Liverpool, Department of Economics.
    7. Raphael Auer & Ariel Burstein & Sarah M Lein, 2018. "Exchange rates and prices: evidence from the 2015 Swiss franc appreciation," BIS Working Papers 751, Bank for International Settlements.
    8. Thibault Fally & Benjamin Faber, 2016. "Firm Heterogeneity in Consumption Baskets: Evidence from Home and Store Scanner Data," 2016 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Goodness C. Aye & Laurence Harris, 2019. "The effect of real exchange rate volatility on income distribution in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-29, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Cravino, Javier & Lan, Ting & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2020. "Price stickiness along the income distribution and the effects of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 19-32.
    11. Caron, Justin & Fally, Thibault & Markusen, James, 2020. "Per capita income and the demand for skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    12. Han, Jun & Liu, Runjuan & Ural Marchand, Beyza & Zhang, Junsen, 2016. "Market structure, imperfect tariff pass-through, and household welfare in Urban China," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 220-232.
    13. Gabriela Cugat, 2019. "Emerging markets, household heterogeneity, and exchange rate policy," 2019 Meeting Papers 526, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Salvatore Morelli, 2018. "Banking crises in the US: the response of top income shares in a historical perspective," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 257-294, June.
    15. Ingvild Almås & Anders Kjelsrud, 2016. "Pro-poor Price Trends and Inequality - The Case of India," CESifo Working Paper Series 5740, CESifo.
    16. Rodnyansky, A., 2018. "(Un)Competitive Devaluations and Firm Dynamics," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1888, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    17. Philip R Lane & Livio Stracca, 2018. "Can appreciation be expansionary? Evidence from the euro area," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 33(94), pages 225-264.

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    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F61 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Microeconomic Impacts

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