Working Paper No. 1028 | August 2023
Contractionary Effects of Foreign Price Shocks (and Potentially Expansionary Effects of Inflation)
Using the model proposed in Krugman and Taylor’s “Contractionary effects of devaluation” (1978), we examine the macroeconomic effects of shocks to foreign prices. We show that these shocks can be contractionary for two reasons: (i) because they imply a loss of income if an economy has a trade deﬁcit or import prices increase proportionally more than export prices; (ii) because there is a redistribution of income from wages to proﬁts and rent, which leads to a decrease in consumption and output (as the wage earner's propensity to consume is higher than those of proﬁt earners and rentiers). An endogenous reaction of nominal wages to the increase in the price level might lead to even higher increases in prices, but mitigates the negative macroeconomic effects of the foreign price shocks because it reduces their negative distributional effects. If the proportional increase in nominal wages is higher than that of domestic prices, the distributional effect becomes positive. The opposite is the case with markups. If they increase in reaction to higher prices, they contribute to further price increases but they also exacerbate the negative distributional effects. The paper also provides an analytical solution for a general case of the model of Krugman and Taylor.
Michalis Nikiforos Simon Grothe