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Retail Price Differences across U.S. and Canadian Cities during the Interwar Period

Author

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  • James MacGee

    (UWO)

  • Chris Hajzler

    (University of Otago)

Abstract

We construct a unique panel of retail food prices in 69 Canadian and 51 U.S. cities during the Interwar (1920-40) period. Surprisingly, we find that average relative price dispersion across cities within Canada and the U.S., and the role of distance in accounting for cross-city price differences, was very similar to estimates from the 1980s and 1990s. We also find large changes in the importance of the Canada-U.S. border during the Interwar period. While increased price differences between Canadian and U.S. cities coincide with the end of the gold-standard (and the move to floating nominal exchange rates), large relative and absolute price differences persist even after the Canada-U.S. nominal exchange rate returned to parity. The substantial "thickening" of the border in the 1930s appears to reflect dramatic changes in trade policy and the degree of market integration during this period.

Suggested Citation

  • James MacGee & Chris Hajzler, 2012. "Retail Price Differences across U.S. and Canadian Cities during the Interwar Period," 2012 Meeting Papers 1126, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:1126
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_1126.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mario J. Crucini & Chris I. Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2005. "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 724-738, June.
    2. Sarno, Lucio & Taylor, Mark P. & Chowdhury, Ibrahim, 2004. "Nonlinear dynamics in deviations from the law of one price: a broad-based empirical study," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-25, February.
    3. William Hynes & David S. Jacks & Kevin H. O'rourke, 2012. "Commodity market disintegration in the interwar period," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 119-143, May.
    4. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "Border Effect or Country Effect? Seattle May Not Be So Far from Vancouver After All," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-241, January.
    5. Ross D. Hickey & David S. Jacks, 2011. "Nominal rigidities and retail price dispersion in Canada over the twentieth century," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(3), pages 749-780, August.
    6. Martin Berka, 2009. "Nonlinear Adjustment in Law of One Price Deviations and Physical Characteristics of Goods," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 51-73, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:rej:journl:v:19:y:2016:i:61:p:193-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David Fielding & Christopher Hajzler & James MacGee, 2017. "Price-Level Dispersion versus Inflation-Rate Dispersion: Evidence from Three Countries," Staff Working Papers 17-3, Bank of Canada.
    3. Nebiye Yamak & Sinem Kocak & Fatma Kolcu, 2016. "Causal Relationship Between Relative Price Variability and Inflation in Turkey:Evidence from Panel Data," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 19(60), pages 183-198, June.

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