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

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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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    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(61), pages 193-210, September.
    4. David Fielding & Christopher Hajzler & James (Jim) C. MacGee, 2017. "Price-Level Dispersion versus Inflation-Rate Dispersion: Evidence from Three Countries," Staff Working Papers 17-3, Bank of Canada.
    5. Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 2018. "Economic history and contemporary challenges to globalization," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _167, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. David Fielding & Christopher Hajzler & James Macgee, 2015. "Distance, Language, Religion, and the Law of One Price: Evidence from Canada and Nigeria," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(5), pages 1007-1029, August.
    7. 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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