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Local Costs of Distribution, International Trade Costs and Micro Evidence on the Law of One Price

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  • Giri, Rahul

Abstract

Observed trade flows provide one metric to gauge the degree of international goods market segmentation. Deviations from the law of one price provide another. New survey data on retail prices for a broad cross section of goods across 13 EU countries, compiled by Crucini, Telmer and Zachariadis (2005), show that (i) the average dispersion of law of one price deviations across all goods is 28 percent and (ii) the range of that dispersion across goods is large, varying from 2 percent to 83 percent. Quantitative multi-country Ricardian models, a la Eaton and Kortum, use data on bilateral trade volumes to estimate international trade barriers or trade costs. This paper investigates whether the degree of international goods market segmentation implied by these models can account for observed cross-country dispersion in prices. When heterogeneous and asymmetric trade costs are carefully calibrated to match observed bilateral trade volumes, the model can account for 85 percent of the average dispersion of law of one price deviations found in the data. However, it generates only 21 percent of the good by good variation in price dispersion. The model is augmented to permit heterogeneity in local costs of distribution - across goods and countries - and is calibrated to match data on distribution margins. While the augmented model can reproduce 96.5 percent of the average dispersion of law of one price deviations, it can match only 32 percent of the variation in that dispersion. Heterogeneity in trade costs, and in local distribution costs, cannot account for observed heterogeneity in the dispersion of law of one price deviations.

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  • Giri, Rahul, 2008. "Local Costs of Distribution, International Trade Costs and Micro Evidence on the Law of One Price," MPRA Paper 11006, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Sep 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11006
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    1. Jörgensen, Christian & Persson, Morten, 2013. "The Market for Tractors in the EU: Price Differences and Convergence," Factor Markets Working Papers 145, Centre for European Policy Studies.
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    3. Jorgensen, Christian & Persson, Morten, 2013. "The Market for Tractors in the EU: Price Differences and Convergence," Working papers 144005, Factor Markets, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    4. Giri, Rahul & Yi, Kei-Mu & Yilmazkuday, Hakan, 2021. "Gains from trade: Does sectoral heterogeneity matter?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    5. Hu, Cui & Parsley, David & Tan, Yong, 2021. "Exchange rate induced export quality upgrading: A firm-level perspective," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 336-348.
    6. Hayakawa, Kazunobu & Tsubota, Kenmei, 2022. "The impact of highways on commodity prices: The price of butter in Japan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    7. Caroline Betts & Rahul Giri & Rubina Verma, 2017. "Trade, Reform, and Structural Transformation in South Korea," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(4), pages 745-791, November.
    8. Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2021. "Drivers of Global Trade: A Product-Level Investigation," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 469-485, October.
    9. Tan, Yong & Zhao, Chen, 2017. "New Exporters and Continuing Exporters under Exchange Rate Fluctuations," MPRA Paper 77244, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Kyle Olsen & James Mjelde & David Bessler, 2015. "Price formulation and the law of one price in internationally linked markets: an examination of the natural gas markets in the USA and Canada," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(1), pages 117-142, January.
    11. Choi, Chi-Young & Choi, Horag, 2014. "Does distance reflect more than transport costs?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 82-86.
    12. Yong Tan & Chen Carol Zhao, 2020. "Firms’ heterogeneity, demand accumulating, and exchange rate pass‐through," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 87(2), pages 700-731, October.
    13. Mario J. Crucini & Christopher I. Telmer, 2012. "Microeconomic Sources of Real Exchange Rate Variability," NBER Working Papers 17978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Sposi, Michael, 2015. "Trade barriers and the relative price of tradables," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 398-411.
    15. Chi‐Young Choi & Anthony Murphy & Jyh‐Lin Wu, 2017. "Segmentation of consumer markets in the US: What do intercity price differences tell us?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 50(3), pages 738-777, August.
    16. Xuebing Yang, 2015. "Estimating Distribution Costs with the Eaton–Kortum Model," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 653-665, August.
    17. Kazunobu Hayakawa & Ikumo Isono & Satoru Kumagai, 2020. "Transportation Costs in Archipelagos: Evidence from Indonesia," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 58(3), pages 227-241, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade; international trade costs; distribution costs; law of one price; price dispersion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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