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International Finance Discussion Papers
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Phillip Swagel
1995-508  (April 1995)

Abstract:  I use disaggregated U.S. data from 1978 to 1988 to examine the impact of changes in the prices of imported manufactured goods on corresponding domestic prices--the "competing goods effect." I use an econometric specification which allows for product differentiation between domestic and imported goods, and provides measures of exchange rate pass-through and economies of scale.

I find that the impact of import prices on domestic prices varies substantially by industry, with statistically significant effects in nine of nineteen two-digit SIC manufacturing categoric:s. However, even where the effects are statistically significant, they are typically small in economic terms. On the whole, I do not find support for the anecdotal evidence that firms in US manufacturing industries take advantage of the reduced competitive discipline of higher ilnport prices. Because import prices are not a substantial determinant of domestic prices in the U.S., this implies that the consequent danger of imported inflation is small.

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