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Price Level Convergence Among United States Cities: Lessons for the European Central Bank

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Abstract

We study the dynamics of price indices for major U.S. cities. Using panel econometric methods, we find that relative price levels among cities mean revert, but at a surprisingly slow rate. In a panel of 15 cities from 1918 to 1995, we estimate the half life of convergence to be approximately 9 years. The following hypotheses are investigated as explanations for the slow convergence: (i) Arbitrage impediments induced by transportation costs, and (ii) and the inclusion of nontraded goods prices in the overall price index as suggested by the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis. Our estimates provide an upper bound on convergence rates that participants in European Monetary Union may experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Cecchetti & Nelson C. Mark & Robert Sonora, 1998. "Price Level Convergence Among United States Cities: Lessons for the European Central Bank," Working Papers 32, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:32
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    Keywords

    Purchasing power parity; Convergence; European Monetary Union;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F37 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Finance Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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