Emi Nakamura

Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through

Coauthor(s): Dawit Zerom.


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Recent theoretical work has suggested a number of potentially important factors in causing incomplete pass-through of exchange rates to prices, including markup adjustment, local costs and barriers to price adjustment. We empirically analyze the determinants of incomplete pass-through in the coffee industry. The observed pass-through in this industry replicates key features of pass-through documented in aggregate data: prices respond sluggishly and incompletely to changes in costs. We use microdata on sales and prices to uncover the role of markup adjustment, local costs, and barriers to price adjustment in determining incomplete pass-through using a structural oligopoly model that nests all three potential factors. The implied pricing model explains the main dynamic features of short and long-run pass-through. Local costs reduce long-run pass-through (after 6 quarters) by 59% relative to a CES benchmark. Markup adjustment reduces pass-through by an additional 33%, where the extent of markup adjustment depends on the estimated "super-elasticity" of demand. The estimated menu costs are small (0:23% of revenue) and have a negligible effect on long-run pass-through, but are quantitatively successful in explaining the delayed response of prices to costs. We fi nd that delayed pass-through in the coffee industry occurs almost entirely at the wholesale rather than the retail level.

This is an electronic version of an article published in the Review of Economic Studies 77, no. 3 (2010): 1192-1230.

Exact Citation:
Nakamura, Emi, and Dawit Zerom. "Accounting for Incomplete Pass-Through." Review of Economic Studies 77, no. 3 (2010): 1192-1230.
Volume: 77
Number: 3
Pages: 1192-1230
Date: 2010