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How Does Quality Impact on Import Prices?

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Abstract

Understanding the dynamics of import price developments is an important but challenging issue which affects the way we look on consumers' welfare, real exchange rates and exchange rate pass-through. In this paper we propose an exact import price index which extends the approach by Broda and Weinstein (2006) who adjust price developments for changes in varieties of imported products. We relax two assumptions still underlying the Broda and Weinstein (2006) approach, thus allowing the set of imported goods and the quality to vary. This variety-, set-of-products-, and quality-adjusted import price index shows that gains from variety in European G7 countries, although positive, are rather small compared to calculated gains from quality. Using HS 07 (vegetables) as our benchmark group of products with unchanged quality, we find significant gains from quality for Germany, France, Italy and the UK between 1995 and 2010. Although these results are not invariant to the choice of the benchmark category, they clearly stress the importance of incorporating the quality issues in empirical literature. Ignoring changes in import quality can give misleading estimates of import prices and consumers' welfare.

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  • Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2011. "How Does Quality Impact on Import Prices?," Working Papers 175, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:175
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    1. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lukas Mohler & Michael Seitz, 2012. "The gains from variety in the European Union," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(3), pages 475-500, September.
    3. 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.
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    1. repec:hhs:bofitp:2013_018 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Joseph, Andreas & Osbat, Chiara, 2016. "How you export matters: the disassortative structure of international trade," Working Paper Series 1958, European Central Bank.
    3. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2016. "Non-price competitiveness of exports from emerging countries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 707-735, September.
    4. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2014. "“Made in China” – How Does it Affect Measures of Competitiveness?," Working Papers 193, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    5. Konstantīns Beņkovskis, 2012. "Competitiveness of Latvia's exporters," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 12(2), pages 17-45, December.
    6. Konstantins Benkovskis & Julia Wörz, 2012. "Non-Price Competitiveness Gains of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Countries in the EU Market," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 27-47.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    import variety; price index; quality; welfare gains from trade;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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