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Violating the Law of One Price: Should We Make a Federal Case Out of It?


  • Engel, Charles
  • Rogers, John H


We use new disaggregated data on consumer prices to determine why there is variability in prices of similar goods across U.S. cities. We address questions similar to those that have arisen in the international context: is this variability purely a result of market segmentation or do sticky nominal prices play a role? We also examine how the degree of tradability of a good influences price variability. Surprisingly, we find that variability is larger for traded-goods. We attribute this finding to greater price stickiness for non-traded goods. Distance between cities accounts for a significant amount of the variation in prices between pairs of cities. But we also find that nominal price stickiness plays an even more significant role.

Suggested Citation

  • Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 2001. "Violating the Law of One Price: Should We Make a Federal Case Out of It?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 1-15, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:33:y:2001:i:1:p:1-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-1125, December.
    2. Kravis, Irving B & Lipsey, Robert E, 1988. "National Price Levels and the Prices of Tradables and Nontradables," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 474-478, May.
    3. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1993. "On Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061546, January.
    4. David C. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Convergence to the Law of One Price Without Trade Barriers or Currency Fluctuations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1211-1236.
    5. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-522, August.
    6. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates


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