IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Effect of Low-Wage Import Competition on U.S. Inflationary Pressure

  • Raphael Anton Auer
  • Andreas M. Fischer

This paper develops a new methodology to estimate the effect of low-wage import competition on U.S. producer prices. We first document that when low-wage countries grow, their exports to the United States increase most in labor-intensive sectors. Second, we demonstrate that the temporary and relative component of imports induced by labor intensity and output growth in low-wage countries is orthogonal to U.S. supply and demand shocks and can, therefore, be utilized to identify the causal impact of import competition on prices. In a panel covering 325 manufacturing industries from 1997 to 2006, we find that imports from nine low-wage countries are associated with strong downward pressure on U.S. prices. When these nations capture 1% U.S. market share, producer prices decrease by 3.1%, which is nearly fully accounted by a 2.4% increase in labor productivity and a 0.4% decrease in markups. Overall, we find that imports from the examined countries have decreased U.S. manufacturing PPI inflation by around two percentage points each year.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Swiss National Bank in its series Working Papers with number 2008-18.

in new window

Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2008-18
Contact details of provider: Postal: B├Ârsenstrasse 15, P. O. Box, CH - 8022 Z├╝rich
Phone: +41 44 631 31 11
Fax: +41 44 631 39 11
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Natalie Chen & Jean Imbs & Andrew Scott, 2006. "The dynamics of trade and competition," Working Paper Research 91, National Bank of Belgium.
  2. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1993. "Relative-price changes as aggregate supply shocks," Working Papers 93-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Daniel Trefler, 2001. "The Long and Short of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 8293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Luke Willard & Tarhan Feyzioglu, 2006. "Does Inflation in China Affect the United States and Japan?," IMF Working Papers 06/36, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  7. Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Across-product Versus Within-product Specialization in International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 646-677, May.
  8. Laurence M. Ball, 2006. "Has Globalization Changed Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 12687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2008. "Exporting Deflation? Chinese Exports and Japanese Prices," NBER Working Papers 13942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," NBER Working Papers 10314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  12. Steven B. Kamin & Mario Marazzi & John W. Schindler, 2006. "The Impact of Chinese Exports on Global Import Prices," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 179-201, 05.
  13. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2007. "Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India," NBER Working Papers 12943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  15. Davis, D.R. & Weinstein, D.E., 1999. "An Account of Global Factor Trade," Working Papers 435, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  16. Chor, Davin, 2010. "Unpacking sources of comparative advantage: A quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 152-167, November.
  17. Nigel Pain & Isabell Koske & Marte Sollie, 2006. "Globalisation and Inflation in the OECD Economies," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 524, OECD Publishing.
  18. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  19. Razin, Assaf, 2005. "Globalization and Disinflation: A Note," CEPR Discussion Papers 4826, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Survival of the best fit: exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of U.S. manufacturing plants," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20028, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  21. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2004. "Comparative advantage and heterogeneous firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3700, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  22. Gordon H. Hanson, 2003. "What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico since NAFTA?," NBER Working Papers 9563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," NBER Working Papers 12755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  25. Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, 1998. "Globalization and U.S. inflation," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 21-33.
  26. Claudio E. V. Borio & Andrew Filardo, 2007. "Globalisation and inflation: New cross-country evidence on the global determinants of domestic inflation," BIS Working Papers 227, Bank for International Settlements.
  27. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-87, December.
  28. De Bandt, O. & Frey, L. & Loisel, O., 2008. "Globalisation, inflation and monetary policy," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 12, pages 23-30, Summer.
  29. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond Robertson, 2010. "China and the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Countries," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 137-159 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Jane Ihrig & Steven B. Kamin & Deborah Lindner & Jaime Marquez, 2007. "Some simple tests of the globalization and inflation hypothesis," International Finance Discussion Papers 891, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2008-18. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Enzo Rossi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.