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Product Introductions, Currency Unions, and the Real Exchange Rate

  • Roberto Rigobon

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Brent Neiman

    (University of Chicago)

  • Alberto Cavallo

    (MIT)

We use a novel dataset of online prices of identical goods sold by four large global retailers in dozens of countries to study good-level real exchange rates and their aggregated behavior. First, in contrast to the prior literature, we demonstrate that the law of one price holds perfectly within currency unions for thousands of goods sold by each of the retailers, implying good-level real exchange rates equal to one. Prices of these same goods exhibit large deviations from the law of one price outside of currency unions, even when the nominal exchange rate is pegged. This clarifies that it is the common currency per se, rather than the lack of nominal volatility, that results in the lack of cross-country differences in the prices of these goods. Second, we use a novel decomposition to show that most of the cross-sectional variation in good-level real exchange rates reflects differences in prices at the time products are first introduced, as opposed to the component emerging from heterogeneous passthrough or from nominal rigidities during the life of the good. In fact, international relative prices measured at the time of introduction move together with the nominal exchange rate. This stands in sharp contrast to pricing behavior in models where all price rigidity for any given good is due simply to costly price adjustment for that good.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 1357.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:1357
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  1. Ina Simonovska, 2010. "Income differences and prices of tradables," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. Crucini, Mario J. & Shintani, Mototsugu, 2008. "Persistence in law of one price deviations: Evidence from micro-data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 629-644, April.
  3. Alberto Cavallo & Roberto Rigobon, 2011. "The Distribution of the Size of Price Changes," NBER Working Papers 16760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mario J. Crucini & Mototsugu Shintani & and Takayuki Tsuruga, 2008. "Accounting for Persistence and Volatility of Good-level Real Exchange Rates: The Role of Sticky Information," IMES Discussion Paper Series 08-E-05, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
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  8. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2008. "Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices," Staff Report 404, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Gagnon, Etienne & Mandel, Benjamin R. & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2012. "Missing Import Price Changes and Low Exchange Rate Pass-Through," International Finance Discussion Papers 1040, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 12 Dec 2012.
  10. Fernando Borraz & Alberto Cavallo & Roberto Rigobon & Leandro Zipitría, 2012. "Distance and Political Boundaries: Estimating Border Effects under Inequality Constraints," NBER Working Papers 18122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Verboven, Frank, 2005. "Market integration and convergence to the Law of One Price: evidence from the European car market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 49-73, January.
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  13. Rogers, John H. & Jenkins, Michael, 1995. "Haircuts or hysteresis? Sources of movements in real exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 339-360, May.
  14. Mario Crucini & Chris Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, . "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," GSIA Working Papers 227, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  15. David C. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Explaining the Border Effect: The Role of Exchange Rate Variability, Shipping Costs, and Geography," NBER Working Papers 7836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "Border Effect or Country Effect? Seattle May Not Be So Far from Vancouver After All," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-41, January.
  17. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  18. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  19. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "How wide is the border?," Research Working Paper 95-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  20. Martin Berka & Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2012. "Real Exchange Rate Adjustment in and out of the Eurozone," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 179-85, May.
  21. A. Kerem Cosar & Paul L. E. Grieco & Felix Tintelnot, 2012. "Borders, Geography, and Oligopoly: Evidence from the Wind Turbine Industry," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1228, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  22. Neiman, Brent, 2010. "Stickiness, synchronization, and passthrough in intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 295-308, April.
  23. Devereux, Michael B. & Engel, Charles, 2007. "Expenditure switching versus real exchange rate stabilization: Competing objectives for exchange rate policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2346-2374, November.
  24. Alberto Cavallo, 2015. "Scraped Data and Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 21490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Ina Simonovska, 2010. "Income Differences and Prices of Tradables: Insights from an Online Retailer," NBER Working Papers 16233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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