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Immigration and Prices

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  • Saul Lach

Abstract

This paper examines the behavior of prices following the unexpected arrival of a large number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) to Israel during 1990. I use store-level price data on 915 consumer price index products to show that the increase in aggregate demand prompted by the arrival of the FSU immigration significantly reduced prices during 1990. When one controls for native population size and 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 FSU immigrants-the new consumers-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 labor. (c) 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Saul Lach, 2007. "Immigration and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 548-587, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:115:y:2007:i:4:p:548-587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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