A Spatial Explanation for the Balassa-Samuelson Effect
AbstractWe propose a simple spatial model to explain why the price level is higher in rich countries. There are two sectors: manufacturing, which is freely tradable, and non-tradable services, which have to locate near customers in big cities. As countries develop, total factor productivity increases simultaneously in both sectors. However, because services compete with the population for scarce land, labor productivity will grow slower in services than in manufacturing. Services become more expensive, and the aggregate price level becomes higher. The model hence provides a theoretical foundation for the Balassa--Samuelson assumption that productivity growth is slower in the non-tradable sector than in the tradable sector. Empirical results confirm two key implications of the theory. First, we compare countries where land is scarce (densely populated, highly urban countries) to rural countries. The Balassa--Samuelson effect is stronger among urban countries. Second, we compare sectors that locate at different distance to consumers. The Balassa--Samuelson effect is stronger within sectors that locate closer to consumers.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Firms in the Global Economy in its series CeFiG Working Papers with number 4.
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
Date of revision: 01 Oct 2008
Other versions of this item:
- Miklos Koren & Peter Karadi, 2009. "A Spatial Explanation for the Balassa-Samuelson Effect," 2009 Meeting Papers 891, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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