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Charles Thomas (), Jaime Marquez and Sean Fahle

Pacific Economic Review, 2009, vol. 14, issue 3, 376-397

Abstract: Abstract. In this paper we assemble a measure of international relative prices to gauge the average amount by which prices in China and the USA differ from the prices of their trading partners. Our estimated weighted average of relative prices for China and the USA are the first to use the significantly revised purchasing power parities embodied in the price data from the World Bank's World Development Indicators. Our analysis reveals several findings of interest. First, interactions between the structure of trade and the levels of relative prices are sufficiently important to induce divergences between the weighted average of relative prices and conventional real effective exchange‐rate indexes. Second, revisions embodied in World Development Indicators price data generally lower the estimate of US international relative prices. Third, net exports are inversely related to the estimate of US international relative price, but, for China, the correlation is positive. Estimating this correlation for other countries reveals no systematic pattern related to the level of development alone. Fourth, unlike previous work, using our price measures we find that an increase in US prices relative to Chinese prices raises the share of China's exports to the USA. Finally, there is a distinct possibility of eliminating the long‐standing differential in income elasticities of US trade in empirical applications.

Date: 2009
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