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Income Differences and Prices of Tradables

  • Ina Simonovska

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

This paper presents novel evidence of price discrimination, using prices of identical goods in 28 countries. I explain the observed phenomenon via non-homothetic preferences, in a model of trade with product differentiation and firm productivity heterogeneity. The model brings theory and data closer along a key dimension: it generates positively related prices of tradables and income, while preserving exporter behavior and trade flows of existing frameworks. It further captures observations that richer countries buy more per product and consume more diverse bundles. Quantitatively, the model suggests that variable markups account for 80 percent of the positive price-income relationship across 123 countries.

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1015.

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Length: 48
Date of creation: 11 Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:10-15
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  1. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 11393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Atish R. Ghosh & Holger C. Wolf, 1994. "Pricing in International Markets: Lessons From The Economist," NBER Working Papers 4806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," NBER Working Papers 13933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Frank Verboven, 2001. "The Evolution of Price Dispersion in the European Car Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 811-848.
  5. Paul R. Bergin & Robert C. Feenstra, 1999. "Pricing to Market, Staggered Contracts, and Real Exchange Rate Persistence," NBER Working Papers 7026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  7. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  8. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mario J. Crucini & Mototsugu Shintani, 2006. "Persistence in Law-Of-One-Price Deviations: Evidence from Micro-Data," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0616, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  10. Jackson, Laurence Fraser, 1984. "Hierarchic Demand and the Engel Curve for Variety," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 8-15, February.
  11. Hunter, Linda, 1991. "The contribution of nonhomothetic preferences to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 345-358, May.
  12. Feenstra, Robert C., 2003. "A homothetic utility function for monopolistic competition models, without constant price elasticity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 79-86, January.
  13. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
  14. Ariel Burstein & Andrew Atkeson, 2005. "Trade Costs, Pricing to Market, and International Relative Prices," 2005 Meeting Papers 201, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Paul Krugman, 1986. "Pricing to Market when the Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 1926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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