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How does taste and quality impact on import prices?

Konstantins Benkovskis () and Julia Wörz
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Julia Maria Woerz ()

Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), 2014, vol. 150, issue 4, 665-691

Abstract: Understanding the dynamics of import prices is an important but challenging issue that affects our assessment of welfare. We propose an exact import price index by extending the analysis of Broda and Weinstein (Q J Econ 121(2):541–585, 2006 ), who include growth in product variety in their calculations of import prices. While still relying on Armington’s (Int Monet Fund Staff Pap 16(1):159–178, 1969 ) definition of variety, we relax two assumptions, allowing the set of products and unobserved taste and quality parameter to vary. Our modified import price index shows that gains from variety in European G7 countries, although positive, are small compared with gains from taste and quality. Using food and tobacco products as a benchmark with unchanged taste and quality, we find significant gains from shifts in consumer preferences and improving quality for Germany, France, Italy and the UK between 1995 and 2012. By comparing results based on different benchmark groups we further flag the importance of consumer taste in international trade. Copyright Kiel Institute 2014

Keywords: Import price index; Variety; Taste; Quality; Welfare gains; C43; D60; F12; F14; L15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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