The Impact of a Large Depreciation on the Cost of Living of Rich and Poor Consumers

100 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2022

See all articles by Anatoli Colicev

Anatoli Colicev

University of Liverpool - Management School (ULMS)

Joris Hoste

KU Leuven

Jozef Konings

University of Liverpool

Date Written: January 1, 2022


This paper shows that a large exchange rate depreciation affects the cost of living of rich and poor consumers differently. Interestingly, we show that rich consumers are less affected by the depreciation. This is because the depreciation introduces a large variety of products to the market which are more accessible to rich than to poor consumers. We exploit scanner data tracking consumer purchases before and after the large depreciation of the Kazakh Tenge, when it switched from a fixed to a floating exchange rate regime, in August 2015. We use an event study design to show that marginal costs increase more for foreign products than for local products after the depreciation. However, the retail margins on foreign products decrease by more than the retail margins on local products. Thus, the retailer limits relative price movement by adjusting its margins, which helps explain the low sensitivity of domestic absorption to changes in relative border prices. To examine the cost-of-living effect we decompose it into a cost, a retail markup, a substitution and a variety effect. As richer consumers spend, on average, more on foreign varieties, we find that they are disproportionally affected by the cost effect. However, lower retail markups after the shock offset this relative cost increase. Since richer consumers benefit more from changes in product variety, their cost of living increases by less after the depreciation.

Keywords: depreciation, exchange rate pass through, scanner data

JEL Classification: F4

Suggested Citation

Colicev, Anatoli and Hoste, Joris and Konings, Jozef, The Impact of a Large Depreciation on the Cost of Living of Rich and Poor Consumers (January 1, 2022). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP16869, Available at SSRN:

Anatoli Colicev (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool - Management School (ULMS) ( email )

Joris Hoste

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000

Jozef Konings

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Brownlow Hill
Liverpool, L69 7ZA
United Kingdom

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