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Catching-up and Inflation in Europe: Balassa-Samuelson, Engel's Law and Other Culprits

  • Balázs Égert

This study analyses the impact of economic catching-up on annual inflation rates in the European Union with a special focus on the new member countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Using an array of estimation methods, we show that the Balassa-Samuelson effect is not an important driver of inflation rates. By contrast, we find that the initial price level and regulated prices strongly affect inflation outcomes in a nonlinear manner and that the extension of Engel’s Law may hold during periods of very fast growth. We interpret these results as a sign that price level convergence comes from goods, market and non-market service prices. Furthermore, we find that the Phillips curve flattens with a decline in the inflation rate, that inflation persistence increases and that commodity prices have a stronger effect on inflation in a higher inflation environment. Rattrapage économique et inflation en Europe : Balassa-Samuelson, la loi d'Engel et d'autres explications Ce papier étudie l’influence du rattrapage économique sur l’inflation annuelle dans l’Union européenne avec un accent particulier sur les nouveaux pays membres de l’Europe central et orientale. Les résultats indiquent que l’effet Balassa-Samuelson n’est pas à même d’expliquer les taux d’inflation différents observés dans les pays étudiés. Par contre, le niveau général des prix et les prix règlementés ont un impact significatif et non-linéaire sur l’inflation et la loi d’Engel peut être vérifiée durant des périodes de forte croissance économique. Ces résultats suggèrent que la convergence des niveaux de prix provient de la convergence des niveaux de prix des biens échangeables, des biens non-échangeables marchands et non-marchands. Nos résultats montrent aussi que la courbe de Phillips devient plate avec des taux d’inflation plus faible et que la persistance de l’inflation augmente et les prix des matières premières ont une influence plus forte sur l’inflation lorsque l’inflation est plus élevée.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kmblscvdk7d-en
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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 792.

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Date of creation: 16 Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:792-en
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  1. Égert, Balázs & Halpern, László & MacDonald, Ronald, 2004. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates in Transition Economies: Taking Stock of the Issues," CEPR Discussion Papers 4809, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Peter Backé & Jarko Fidrmuc & Thomas Reininger & Franz Schardax, 2002. "Price Dynamics in Central and Eastern European EU Accession," Working Papers 61, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
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