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Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited

  • Maurice Obstfeld and Alan M. Taylor.

We propose that analysis of purchasing power parity (PPP) and the law of one price (LOOP) should explicitly take into account the possibility of "commodity points" -- thresholds delineating a region of no central tendency among relative prices, possib ly due to lack of perfect arbitrage in the presence of transaction costs and uncertainty. More than eighty years ago, Heckscher stressed the importance of such incomplete arbitrage in the empirical application of PPP. We devise an econometric method to identify commodity points. Price adjustment is treated as a nonlinear process, and a threshold autoregression (TAR) offers a parsimonious specification within which both thresholds and adjustment speeds are estimated by maximum likelihood methods. Our m odel performs well using post-1980 data, and yields parameter estimates that appear quite reasonable: adjustment outside the thresholds might imply half-lives of price deviations measured in months rather than years, and the thresholds correspond to popu lar rough estimates as to the order of magnitude of actual transport costs. The estimated commodity points appear to be positively related to objective measures of market segmentation, notably nominal exchange rate volatility.

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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers with number C97-088.

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Date of creation: 01 May 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbcd:c97-088
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  1. Wu, Yangru, 1996. "Are Real Exchange Rates Nonstationary? Evidence from a Panel-Data Test," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(1), pages 54-63, February.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld, 1999. "Open-Economy Macroeconomics, Developments in Theory and Policy," NBER Working Papers 6319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sercu, Piet & Uppal, Raman & Van Hulle, Cynthia, 1995. " The Exchange Rate in the Presence of Transaction Costs: Implications for Tests of Purchasing Power Parity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1309-19, September.
  4. Charles Engel, 1998. "Long-Run PPP May Not Hold After All," Working Papers 0050, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  5. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad, 1996. "Relative Labour Productivity and the Real Exchange Rate in the Long Run: Evidence for a Panel of OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1464, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Froot, Kenneth A. & Kim, Michael & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "The Law of One Price Over 700 Years," Working Papers 95-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  7. Lothian, James R., 1997. "Multi-country evidence on the behavior of purchasing power parity under the current float," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 19-35, February.
  8. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1995. "A Panel Project on Purchasing Power Parity: Mean Reversion Within and Between Countries," NBER Working Papers 5006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dumas, Bernard, 1992. "Dynamic Equilibrium and the Real Exchange Rate in a Spatially Separated World," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 153-80.
  10. Ken Froot & Kenneth Rogoff, . "Perspectives on PPP and Long-Run Real Exchange Rates," Working Paper 32027, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  11. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  12. Balke, Nathan S & Fomby, Thomas B, 1997. "Threshold Cointegration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(3), pages 627-45, August.
  13. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G, 1981. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 781-93, May.
  14. Engel, Charles & Hendrickson, Michael K. & Rogers, John H., 1997. "Intranational, Intracontinental, and Intraplanetary PPP," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 480-501, December.
  15. Patrick K. Asea, 1994. "The Balassa-Samuelson Model: A General Equilibrium Appraisal," UCLA Economics Working Papers 709, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. David C. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Convergence to the Law of One Price Without Trade Barriers or Currency Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 5654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Maurice Obstfeld., 1993. "Model Trending Real Exchange Rates," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-011, University of California at Berkeley.
  18. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "Regional Patterns in the Law of One Price: The Roles of Geography vs. Currencies," NBER Working Papers 5395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Jong-Wha Lee & Phillip Swagel, 2000. "Trade Barriers And Trade Flows Across Countries And Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 372-382, August.
  20. Asea, Patrick K & Mendoza, Enrique G, 1994. "The Balassa-Samuelson Model: A General-Equilibrium Appraisal," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 244-67, October.
  21. Lothian, James R & Taylor, Mark P, 1996. "Real Exchange Rate Behavior: The Recent Float from the Perspective of the Past Two Centuries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 488-509, June.
  22. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1993. "On Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061546, June.
  23. Oh, Keun-Yeob, 1996. "Purchasing power parity and unit root tests using panel data," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 405-418, June.
  24. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Working Papers 96-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  25. Michael, Panos & Nobay, A Robert & Peel, David A, 1997. "Transactions Costs and Nonlinear Adjustment in Real Exchange Rates: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 862-79, August.
  26. Evans, G B A & Savin, N E, 1981. "Testing for Unit Roots: 1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 753-79, May.
  27. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521023399 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521326162 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Lapham, Beverly J., 1995. "A dynamic general equilibrium analysis of deviations from the laws of one price," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1355-1389, November.
  30. Alan M. Taylor, 1996. "International Capital Mobility in History: Purchasing-Power Parity in the Long Run," NBER Working Papers 5742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Jorion, Philippe & Sweeney, Richard J., 1996. "Mean reversion in real exchange rates: evidence and implications for forecasting," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 535-550, August.
  32. Gauri Prakash & Alan M. Taylor, 1997. "Measuring Market Integration: A Model of Arbitrage with an Econometric Application to the Gold Standard, 1879-1913," NBER Working Papers 6073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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