We develop an open economy monetary model with heterogeneous households which is characterized by incomplete pass-through of exchange rate movements to import prices. Partial pass-through arises in our environment due to the presence of competitive search in international goods' markets. Under competitive search, agents choose a sub-market in which to exchange goods, where different sub-markets are characterized by different price and trading probability combinations. Preference and policy shocks which induce exchange rate movements cause households to choose a different sub-market for their purchases of traded goods--an extensive margin response. These responses mitigate the direct effect of nominal exchange rate changes on equilibrium traded goods' prices, thereby generating incomplete exchange rate pass-through to goods' prices. In the calibrated model, exchange rate pass-through due to foreign shocks ranges between 19% and 62%, which is in the range of import price pass-through estimates for developed economies. Due to risk aversion by households, the magnitude of pass-through depends on the size and direction of the initial shock, making the model consistent with the observed phenomenon of asymmetric pass-through. Importantly, by incorporating household heterogeneity, we are able to examine the role of precautionary savings in affecting pass-through, characterize how pass-through varies across different types of households, and examine the distributional effects of exchange rate movements.
QED Working Paper Number
Exchange Rate Pass-Through