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The Balassa-Samuelson Hypothesis Forty Years Later

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It is well known that there are big cross-country differences in aggregate TFP. Are these differences uniform across sectors or are they driven by even larger TFP differences in specific sectors? Some forty years ago, Balassa and Samuelson hypothesized that the biggest TFP differences are in the tradable sectors. Providing empirical support for this hypothesis is hard because of the lack of data on sector inputs and outputs, at least outside the OECD. We get around this problem by employing economic theory to infer the missing information from the expenditure and price data of the 1996 Benchmark Study of the Penn World Tables. We distinguish between tradable and nontradable consumption and investment. We find that Balassa and Samuelson were right: the cross-country TFP differences are much larger in the tradable sectors than in the nontradables ones.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University in its series Working Papers with number 2180043.

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Handle: RePEc:asu:wpaper:2180043

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Cited by:
  1. Achim Schmillen, 2011. "Are Wages Equal Across Sectors of Production? A Panel Data Analysis for Tradable and Non-Tradable Goods," Working Papers 102, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).

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