The Transmission of Monetary Policy and the Sophistication of Money Market Fund Investors
In December 2015, the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy for the first time in almost ten years and, over the following three years, it raised interest rates eight more times, increasing the target range for the federal funds rate from 0-25 basis points (bps) to 225-250 bps. To what extent are changes in the fed funds rate transmitted to cash investors, and are there differences in the pass-through between retail and institutional investors? In this post, we describe the impact of recent rate increases on the yield paid by money market funds (MMFs) to their investors and show that the ...
Real Inventory Slowdowns
Inventory investment plays a central role in business cycle fluctuations. This post examines whether inventory investment amplifies or dampens economic fluctuations following a tightening in financial conditions. We find evidence supporting an amplification mechanism. This analysis suggests that inventory accumulation will be a drag on economic activity this year but provide a boost in 2020.
Pass-through of exchange rates and import prices to domestic inflation in some industrialized economies
This paper examines the impact of exchange rates and import prices on the domestic producer price index and consumer price index in selected industrialized economies. The empirical model is a vector autoregression incorporating a distribution chain of pricing. When the model is estimated over the post-Bretton Woods era, impulse responses indicate that exchange rates have a modest effect on domestic price inflation while import prices have a stronger effect. Pass-through is larger in countries with a larger import share and more persistent exchange rates and import prices. Over 1996-98, these ...
Pass-through of exchange rates to consumption prices: what has changed and why
In this paper, we use cross-country and time-series evidence to argue that retail price sensitivity to exchange rates may have increased over the past decade. This finding applies to traded goods as well as to non-traded goods. We highlight three reasons for the change in pass-through into the retail prices of goods. First, pass-through may have declined at the level of import prices, but the evidence is mixed over types of goods and countries. Second, there has been a large expansion of imported input use across sectors, meaning that the costs of imported goods as well as home-tradable goods ...
International shocks and domestic prices: how large are strategic complementarities?
How strong are strategic complementarities in price setting across firms? In this paper, we provide a direct empirical estimate of firms? price responses to changes in prices of their competitors. We develop a general framework and an empirical identification strategy to estimate the elasticities of a firm?s price response both to its own cost shocks and to the price changes of its competitors. Our approach takes advantage of a new micro-level data set for the Belgian manufacturing sector, which contains detailed information on firm domestic prices, marginal costs, and competitor prices. The ...
The effects of a stronger dollar on U.S. prices
Since 2014:Q3, the U.S. dollar has experienced the third-fastest appreciation in over 30 years, with its nominal exchange and real exchange rate rising 15 percent against almost all foreign currencies (as measured by the Major Currencies Dollar Index). This sudden and rapid gain has engendered concerns about how a stronger dollar will affect U.S. export and import prices and ultimately, consumer prices and inflation in the United States. This paper assembles a rich database, spanning the period from 1985:Q1 through 2014:Q4, that combines several measures of prices and exchange rates in order ...
Menu Costs, Trade Flows, and Exchange Rate Volatility
U.S. imports and exports respond little to exchange rate changes in the short run. Pricing behavior has long been thought central to explaining this response: if local prices do not respond to exchange rates, neither will trade flows. Sticky prices and strategic complementarities in price setting generate sluggish responses, and they are necessary to match newly available international micro price data. Using trade flow data, I test models capable of replicating these trade price data. Even with significant pricing frictions, the models still imply a trade response to exchange rates stronger ...
The Effects of Price Endings on Price Rigidity: Evidence from VAT Changes
We document a causal role for price endings in generating micro and macro price rigidity. Based on micro price data underlying the consumer price index in Israel, we document that most stores have a favored price ending?a final digit, usually a zero or nine, used by a majority of prices in that store?and that these favored price endings are utilized extensively. Using changes to the VAT rate as exogenous cost shocks that affect prices regardless of ending, we find that the frequency of price adjustment for nonfavored endings increases by twice as much as the frequency of adjustment for ...
Why Hasn't the Yen Depreciation Spurred Japanese Exports?
The Japanese yen depreciated 30 percent from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2011 against its trading partners. This was expected to boost its exports as the lower yen makes Japanese goods more competitive on global markets. Instead, the volume of Japanese exports of goods actually fell by 0.6 percent over this same period, as can be seen in the chart below. Weaker external demand surely contributed to this poor export performance. Yet over the same period, U.S. goods exports grew by more than 6 percent, which suggests that other factors are also at play. In this post, we draw on our recent ...
The Exchange Rate Disconnect
Why do large movements in exchange rates have small effects on international goods prices? This empirical regularity is a central puzzle in international macroeconomics. In a new study, we show that the key to understanding this exchange rate disconnect is to take into account that the largest exporters are also the largest importers. This is important because when exporters import their intermediate inputs, they face offsetting exchange rate effects on their marginal costs. For example, a depreciation of the euro relative to the U.S. dollar makes exports in U.S. dollars cheaper?but it also ...