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Revisiting the Border: an assessment of the law of one price using very disaggregated consumer price data

  • Charles Engel
  • John H. Rogers
  • Shing-Yi B. Wang

We reexamine the evidence for border effects in deviations from the law of one price, using data for consumer prices from Canadian and U.S. cities. The study parallels Engel and Rogers (1996), except that this study uses actual price data rather than price index data. We find evidence of border effects both in the levels of prices and the percentage change in prices. Even accounting for distance between cities and relative population sizes, we find that the absolute difference between prices in the U.S. and Canada in our data (annual from 1990 to 2002) is greater than seven percent. This difference exists among tradables and nontradables, though for some categories of tradables (clothing and durables) the difference is smaller. The findings are similar for annual changes, though the magnitude is smaller: the border accounts for a difference in 1.5 percent in annual (log) price changes. Relative population sizes and distance are helpful in explaining price level differences (between Canadian and U.S. cities) for traded goods, but are less helpful in explaining price level differences for nontraded goods or for accounting for differences in price changes for either traded or nontraded goods.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 777.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:777
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  1. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "How wide is the border?," International Finance Discussion Papers 498, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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