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Violating the law of one price: should we make a federal case out of it?

Author

Listed:
  • Charles Engel
  • John H. Rogers

Abstract

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

  • Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1999. "Violating the law of one price: should we make a federal case out of it?," International Finance Discussion Papers 644, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:644
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-1125, December.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1993. "On Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061546, January.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Prices ; Cities and towns;

    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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