Why are Retail Prices in Japan so High?: Evidence from German Export Prices
It is well documented that retail prices in Japan are higher than in other countries for similar products. The two main competing explanations for this finding are: (1) a relatively high degree of discriminatory practices against imports and (2) relatively high distribution costs associated with getting goods to the point of final sale in Japan. The first of these explanations implies that foreign exporters should charge higher prices on shipments to Japan than elsewhere, provided at least some of the rent associated with restrictive practices can be captured by the exporter. For the vast majority of the 37 7-digit German export industries studied here, the data are consistent with this implication. Prices on shipments to Japan appear to be significantly higher than prices on shipments to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.