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Immigration and Prices

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  • Lach, Saul

Abstract

This paper examines the behaviour of prices following the unexpected arrival of a large number of Former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrants to Israel during 1990. The paper uses store-level price data on 915 CPI products to show that the increase in aggregate demand prompted by the arrival of the FSU immigration significantly reduced prices during 1990. Controlling for native population size, city and month effects, a one percentage point increase in the ratio of immigrants to natives in a city decreases prices by 0.5 percentage point on average. It is argued that this negative immigration effect is consistent with the arrival of new consumers - the FSU immigrants - having higher price elasticities and lower search costs than the native population. Thus, immigration can have a moderating effect on inflation through its direct effect on product markets, and not only by increasing the supply of labour.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5083.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5083

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Keywords: demand changes; immigration; price changes; search;

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  1. Yoram Weiss & Robert M. Sauer & Menachem Gotlibovski, 2003. "Immigration, Search, and Loss of Skill," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 557-592, July.
  2. Michael Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1022, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Brown, Jeffrey, 2000. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Working Paper Series rwp00-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 521-539 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga-Gonz�lez, 2004. "Strategic Pricing, Consumer Search and the Number of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1089-1118.
  6. Cohen-Goldner, Sarit & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2011. "The dynamic impact of immigration on natives' labor market outcomes: Evidence from Israel," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1027-1045.
  7. Bils, Mark, 1989. "Pricing in a Customer Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 699-718, November.
  8. Maarten C. W. Janssen & José Luis Moraga-González, 2004. "Strategic Pricing, Consumer Search and the Number of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1089-1118, October.
  9. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  10. Lach, Saul & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1992. "The Behavior of Prices and Inflation: An Empirical Analysis of Disaggregated Price Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 349-89, April.
  11. Saul Lach & Daniel Tsiddon, 1994. "Staggering and Synchronization in Price-Setting: Evidence from Multipro-duct Firms," NBER Working Papers 4759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. MacDonald, James M, 2000. "Demand, Information, and Competition: Why Do Food Prices Fall at Seasonal Demand Peaks?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 27-45, March.
  13. Warner, Elizabeth J & Barsky, Robert B, 1995. "The Timing and Magnitude of Retail Store Markdowns: Evidence from Weekends and Holidays," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 321-52, May.
  14. Judith A. Chevalier & Anil K. Kashyap & Peter E. Rossi, 2000. "Why Don't Prices Rise During Periods of Peak Demand? Evidence from Scanner Data," NBER Working Papers 7981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2003. "Cluster-Sample Methods in Applied Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 133-138, May.
  16. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
  17. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact Of Mass Migration On The Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408, November.
  18. Saul Lach, 2002. "Existence And Persistence Of Price Dispersion: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 433-444, August.
  19. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
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