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Why Do Consumer Prices React less than Import Prices to Exchange Rates?

  • Philippe Bacchetta
  • Eric van Wincoop

It is well known that the extent of pass-through of exchange rate changes to consumer prices is much lower than to import prices. One explanation is local distribution costs. Here we consider an alternative, complementary, explanation based on the optimal pricing strategies of firms. We consider a model where foreign exporting firms sell intermediate goods to domestic firms. Domestic firms assemble the imported intermediate goods and sell final goods to consumers. When domestic firms face significant competition from other domestic final goods producing sectors (e.g., the non-traded goods sector) we show that they prefer to price in domestic currency, while exporting firms tend to price in the exporter's currency. In that case the pass-through to import prices is complete, while the pass-through to consumer prices is zero.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9352.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
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Publication status: published as Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Why Do Consumer Prices React Less Than Import Prices to Exchange Rates?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 662-670, 04/05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9352
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  1. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel & Peter E. Storgaard, 2002. "Endogenous Exchange Rate Pass-Through When Nominal Prices are Set in Advance," Working Papers 212002, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  2. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2002. "Why Are Rates of Inflation So Low After Large Devaluations?," NBER Working Papers 8748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eric van Wincoop & Philippe Bacchetta, 2000. "Does Exchange-Rate Stability Increase Trade and Welfare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1093-1109, December.
  4. McCallum, Bennett T. & Nelson, Edward, 1999. "Nominal income targeting in an open-economy optimizing model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 553-578, June.
  5. Campa, Jose M. & Goldberg, Linda S., 2002. "Exchange rate pass-through into import prices: A macro or micro phenomenon?," IESE Research Papers D/475, IESE Business School.
  6. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1996. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo, 2005. "International dimensions of optimal monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 281-305, March.
  8. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  9. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1999. "New Directions for Stochastic Open Economy Models," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt5pf7g8sh, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1994. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," NBER Working Papers 4693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2002. "Macroeconomics of international price discrimination," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 461, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  12. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 1996. "The exchange rate in a model of pricing-to-market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1007-1021, April.
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