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Can we identify Balassa-Samuelson effects with measures of product variety?

  • Frensch, Richard
  • Schmillen, Achim

The Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis - i.e. that real exchange rates between each pair of countries increase with the tradables sector productivities ratio between these countries, and decrease with their non-tradables sector productivities ratio - has been one of the most prominent frameworks in open economy macroeconomics for more than 40 years. However, empirical studies have often been unable to confirm it. We argue that this might at least in part be due to measurement errors leading to downward-biased estimates. We test the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis with innovative trade-based variety measures to differentiate between tradables and non-tradables sector productivities that do not suffer from such errors-in-variables. Using a pairwise regression approach, we find stable and very robust Balassa-Samuelson effects over all our specifications.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Systems.

Volume (Year): 35 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 98-108

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecosys:v:35:y:2011:i:1:p:98-108
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  7. Robert C. Feenstra & Madani & Dorsati & Yang & Tzu-Han & Liang & Chi-Yuan, . "Testing Endogenous Growth In South Korea And Taiwan," Department of Economics 97-16, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  8. Frensch, Richard & Gaucaite Wittich, Vitalija, 2009. "Product variety and technical change," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 242-257, March.
  9. Richard Baldwin & Daria Taglioni, 2006. "Gravity for Dummies and Dummies for Gravity Equations," NBER Working Papers 12516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Bergin, Paul R. & Glick, Reuven & Taylor, Alan M., 2006. "Productivity, tradability, and the long-run price puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2041-2066, November.
  12. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2007. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members' international trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 72-95, March.
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  14. Amiti, Mary & Konings, Jozef, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Intermediate Inputs and Productivity: Evidence from Indonesia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Josip Tica & Ivo Družić, 2006. "The Harrod-Balassa-Samuelson Effect: A Survey of Empirical Evidence," EFZG Working Papers Series 0607, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb.
  18. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
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  21. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Jazbec, Bostjan, 2001. "Real Exchange Rate Dynamics in Transition Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2869, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Richard Frensch, 2006. "Balassa-Samuelson, Product Differentiation and Transition," Working Papers 266, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  23. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
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