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Income differences and prices of tradables

  • Ina Simonovska

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 Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper with number 55.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:55
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  1. 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.
  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. Bergin, Paul R. & Feenstra, Robert C., 2001. "Pricing-to-market, staggered contracts, and real exchange rate persistence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 333-359, August.
  4. 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.
  5. Mario Crucini & Chris Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2003. "Price dispersion: The role of distance, borders and location," GSIA Working Papers 2004-E25, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  6. Crucini, Mario J. & Shintani, Mototsugu, 2008. "Persistence in law of one price deviations: Evidence from micro-data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 629-644, April.
  7. Hunter, Linda, 1991. "The contribution of nonhomothetic preferences to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 345-358, May.
  8. 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.
  9. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Frank Verboven, 1998. "The Evolution of Price Dispersion in the European Car Market," NBER Working Papers 6818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  15. Paul Krugman, 1986. "Pricing to Market when the Exchange Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 1926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Ariel Burstein & Andrew Atkeson, 2005. "Trade Costs, Pricing to Market, and International Relative Prices," 2005 Meeting Papers 201, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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