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Why are Retail Prices in Japan so High?: Evidence from German Export Prices

  • Michael M. Knetter
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    It is well documented that retail prices in Japan are higher than in other countries for similar products. The two main competing explanations for this finding are: (1) a relatively high degree of discriminatory practices against imports and (2) relatively high distribution costs associated with getting goods to the point of final sale in Japan. The first of these explanations implies that foreign exporters should charge higher prices on shipments to Japan than elsewhere, provided at least some of the rent associated with restrictive practices can be captured by the exporter. For the vast majority of the 37 7-digit German export industries studied here, the data are consistent with this implication. Prices on shipments to Japan appear to be significantly higher than prices on shipments to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4894.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4894.

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    Date of creation: Oct 1994
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    Publication status: published as International Journal of Industrial Organization (August 1997): 549-572.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4894
    Note: IFM ITI
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Knetter, Michael M, 1989. "Price Discrimination by U.S. and German Exporters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 198-210, March.
    2. Steven Berry & James Levinsohn & Ariel Pakes, 1995. "Voluntary Export Restraints on Automobiles: Evaluating a Strategic TradePolicy," NBER Working Papers 5235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
    4. Knetter, Michael M, 1994. "Did the Strong Dollar Increase Competition in U.S. Product Markets?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 192-95, February.
    5. Gary R. Saxonhouse, 1993. "What Does Japanese Trade Structure Tell Us about Japanese Trade Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 21-43, Summer.
    6. Paul Krugman, 1986. "Pricing to Market when the Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 1926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Isard, Peter, 1977. "How Far Can We Push the "Law of One Price"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 942-48, December.
    8. Sven W. Arndt & J. David Richardson, 1987. "Real-Financial Linkages Among Open Economies," NBER Working Papers 2230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Giovannini, Alberto, 1988. "Exchange rates and traded goods prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 45-68, February.
    10. Marston, Richard C., 1990. "Pricing to market in Japanese manufacturing," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 217-236, November.
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