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Retailers and Consumers: The pass-through of import price changes

  • Berner, Eike
  • Birg, Laura

In this paper, we estimate pass-through rates of import price changes to retail prices across retailers and consumers for apparel purchases in Germany for the period of 2000 to 2007. We find that high-price retailers do not pass through changes in the import price. Pass-through rates for low-price retailers are 53% within 3 months. Consequently, pass-through rates for low-income households are 58%, significantly larger than those for high-income households. We then present one possible explanation for these observations in a theoretical model with endogenous vertical product differentiation due to bundling an ex-ante homogeneous import good with services. Following an import price change, retailers who sell a cheaper unbundled product change prices to a greater extent than retailers who sell a higher-priced bundle of product and service.

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Paper provided by University of Goettingen, Department of Economics in its series Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers with number 133.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:133
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  1. Hellerstein, Rebecca & Villas-Boas, Sofia B., 2010. "Outsourcing and Pass-Through," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt8098p5nq, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  2. Bernini, Michele & Tomasi, Chiara, 2015. "Exchange rate pass-through and product heterogeneity: Does quality matter on the import side?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 117-138.
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  7. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2002. "Macroeconomics of international price discrimination," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 461, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  9. Auer, Raphael & Chaney, Thomas, 2009. "Exchange rate pass-through in a competitive model of pricing-to-market," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 23, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  10. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 2006. "Pass-through of exchange rates to consumption prices: what has changed and why," Staff Reports 261, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1996. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Horst Raff & Nicolas Schmitt, 2012. "Imports and the structure of retail markets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1431-1455, November.
  13. Berman, Nicolas & Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry, 2009. "How do different exporters react to exchange rate changes? Theory, empirics and aggregate implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 7493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Han, Jun & Liu, Runjuan & Ural Marchand, Beyza & Zhang, Junsen, 2013. "Market Structure, Imperfect Tariff Pass-Through, and Household Welfare in Urban China," Working Papers 2013-11, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jul 2014.
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  18. José Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 2005. "Exchange Rate Pass-Through into Import Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 679-690, November.
  19. George Alessandria, 2004. "International Deviations From The Law Of One Price: The Role Of Search Frictions And Market Share," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1263-1291, November.
  20. Emi Nakamura & Dawit Zerom, 2009. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," NBER Working Papers 15255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Horst Raff & Joachim Wagner, 2009. "Intra-Industry Adjustment to Import Competition: Theory and Application to the German Clothing Industry," Working Paper Series in Economics 144, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  22. Linda S. Goldberg & José Manuel Campa, 2010. "The Sensitivity of the CPI to Exchange Rates: Distribution Margins, Imported Inputs, and Trade Exposure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 392-407, May.
  23. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  24. Chen, Natalie & Juvenal, Luciana, 2013. "Quality, Trade, and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," CEPR Discussion Papers 9744, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Braakmann, Nils & Wagner, Joachim, 2009. "Labor Market Adjustments after a Large Import Shock: Evidence from the German Clothing Industry and the Multi-Fibre Arrangement," IZA Discussion Papers 4633, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. de Vos, Klaas & Zaidi, M Asghar, 1997. "Equivalence Scale Sensitivity of Poverty Statistics for the Member States of the European Community," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(3), pages 319-33, September.
  27. Emi Nakamura & Dawit Zerom, 2010. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1192-1230.
  28. Hellerstein, Rebecca, 2008. "Who bears the cost of a change in the exchange rate? Pass-through accounting for the case of beer," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 14-32, September.
  29. Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Frequency of Price Adjustment and Pass-Through," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 675-727.
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