The Balassa-Samuelson effect in Central and Eastern Europe: myth or reality?
This paper studies the Balassa-Samuelson effect in nine Central and East European countries. Using panel cointegration techniques, we find that productivity growth in the open sector leads to inflation in non-tradable goods. Because of the low share of non-tradables and the high share of food items in addition to regulated prices, the consumer price index is misleading when analyzing the Balassa-Samuelson effect. Consequently, the appreciation of the real exchange rate, which has been established as a stylized fact over the last decade, is caused only partly by the Balassa-Samuelson effect. We identify a trend increase in the prices of tradable goods as a contributing explanation.
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