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The Balassa-Samuelson Effect Reversed: New Evidence from OECD Countries


  • Sax, Christoph

    () (University of Basel)

  • Gubler, Matthias


This paper explores the robustness of the Balassa-Samuelson (BS) hypothesis. We analyze a panel of OECD countries from 1970 to 2008 and compare three different datasets on sectoral productivity, including a newly constructed database on total factor productivity. Overall, our DOLS estimation results do not support the BS hypothesis. For the last two decades, we find a very robust negative relationship between the productivity in the tradable sector and the equilibrium real exchange rate, in contrast to BS. Earlier supportive findings depend strongly on the choice of the dataset. Except for the terms of trade, the explanatory power of other variables is weak.

Suggested Citation

  • Sax, Christoph & Gubler, Matthias, 2011. "The Balassa-Samuelson Effect Reversed: New Evidence from OECD Countries," Working papers 2011/09, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2011/09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles Engel, 1999. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 507-538, June.
    2. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
    3. Jean Imbs & Haroon Mumtaz & Morten O. Ravn & Hélène Rey, 2005. "PPP Strikes Back: Aggregation And the Real Exchange Rate," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 1-43.
    4. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 2001. "LAG Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1519-1554, November.
    5. Pedroni, Peter, 2004. "Panel Cointegration: Asymptotic And Finite Sample Properties Of Pooled Time Series Tests With An Application To The Ppp Hypothesis," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(03), pages 597-625, June.
    6. Cribari-Neto, Francisco, 2004. "Asymptotic inference under heteroskedasticity of unknown form," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 215-233, March.
    7. Matthias Gubler & Christoph Sax, 2012. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Real Exchange Rate," Working papers 2012/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    8. Canzoneri, Matthew B. & Cumby, Robert E. & Diba, Behzad, 1999. "Relative labor productivity and the real exchange rate in the long run: evidence for a panel of OECD countries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 245-266, April.
    9. John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berka, Martin & Devereux, Michael B. & Engel, Charles, 2014. "Real exchange rates and sectoral productivity in the Eurozone," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 196, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. Hjortsoe, Ida, 2016. "Imbalances and fiscal policy in a monetary union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 225-241.
    3. Konrad Adler & Christian Grisse, 2017. "Thousands of BEERs: Take your pick," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5), pages 1078-1104, November.
    4. Ernst Baltensperger & Peter Kugler, 2016. "The historical origins of the safe haven status of the Swiss franc:," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 67(02), pages 1-30, August.
    5. Matthias Gubler & Christoph Sax, 2012. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and the Real Exchange Rate," Working papers 2012/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    6. repec:usg:auswrt:2017:68:01:83-100 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Rate; Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis; panel data estimation; terms of trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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