International pricing in a generalized model of ideal variety
Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices
Data on international relative prices from industrialized countries show large and systematic deviations from relative purchasing power parity. We embed a model of imperfect competition and variable markups in some of the recently developed quantitative models of international trade to examine whether such models can reproduce the main features of the fluctuations in international relative prices. We find that when our model is parameterized to match salient features of the data on international trade and market structure in the U.S., it reproduces deviations from relative purchasing power ...
The Big Mac: a global-to-local look at pricing
The global, national, regional and local factors that shape price-setting behavior are complex, even for a relatively simple product that's neither easily tradable nor wholly nontradable.
How efficient is current infrastructure spending and pricing?
Deliverability and regional pricing in U.S. natural gas markets
During the 1980s and early '90s, interstate natural gas markets in the United States made a transition away from the regulation that characterized the previous three decades. With abundant supplies and plentiful pipeline capacity, a new order emerged in which freer markets and arbitrage closely linked natural gas price movements throughout the country. After the mid-1990s, however, U.S. natural gas markets tightened and some pipelines were pushed to capacity. We look for the pricing effects of limited arbitrage through causality testing between prices at nodes on the U.S. natural gas ...
Exchange-rate pass-through in the G-7 countries
This paper examines the current thinking on exchange-rate pass-through to both import prices and consumer prices and estimates the extent to which they have fallen in the G-7 countries since the late 1970s and 1980s. For import-price pass-through we find that all countries experience a numerical decline in the responsiveness of import prices to exchange-rate movements; for nearly half of these countries the decline between 1975-1989 and 1990-2004 is statistically significant. We estimate that while a 10 percent depreciation in the local currency would have increased import prices by nearly 7 ...
Real rigidities and nominal price changes
A large literature seeks to provide microfoundations of price setting for macro models. A challenge has been to develop a model in which monetary policy shocks have the highly persistent effects on real variables estimated by many studies. Nominal price stickiness has proved helpful but not sufficient without some form of "real rigidity" or "strategic complementarity." We embed a model with a real rigidity a la Kimball (1995), wherein consumers flee from relatively expensive products but do not flock to inexpensive ones. We estimate key model parameters using micro data from the U.S. CPI, ...
Reconciling Full-Cost and Marginal-Cost Pricing
Despite the clear prescription from economic theory that a firm should set price based only on variable costs, firms routinely factor fixed costs into pricing decisions. We show that full-cost pricing (FCP) can help firms uncover their optimal price from economic theory. FCP marks up variable cost with the contribution margin per unit, which in equilibrium includes the fixed cost. This requires some knowledge of the firm's equilibrium return, though this is arguably easier a lower informational burden than knowing one's demand curve, which is required for optimal economic pricing. We ...
How small is zero price? : the true value of free products
When faced with a choice of selecting one of several available products (or possibly buying nothing), a standard theoretical perspective suggests that the option with the highest benefit-cost difference will be chosen. This analysis applies to all prices including the price of zero. In contrast, we propose that decisions about free products are different than simply subtracting costs from benefits, and that in fact the benefits associated with free products are perceived to be higher. We test this idea by contrasting the demands for two products (types of chocolate) across conditions that ...