Relative Price Variability : The Case Of Turkey 1994-2002
Relative price variability leads to inefficiencies in the allocation of resources that reduce real income (Fischer, 1981). Given the costs associated with relative price variability, the relation between inflation and relative price variability was extensively researched and a positive relation between the two was documented for many countries and for varying time periods. Furthermore, one of the main sources of relative price variability being differential speeds of price adjustment in different sub-sectors, renders the investigation of relative price variability valuable also in terms of understanding the inflationary dynamics. In this paper, highly disaggregated data based on 103 classification of Turkish CPI for the period between January 1994 and December 2002 are utilised. The statistical findings based on Theil (1967) measure of relative price variability, are analyzed from different perspectives : seasonal pattern, time aggregation, different sub-groups, e.g. tradable/non-tradable prices, administered/non-administered prices etc. Resulting stylized facts about recent dynamics of inflation are presented. The relation between relative price variability and inflation is verified by carrying out model-free regressions. The results show that there is a positive contemporaneous association between relative price variability and inflation in Turkey. Besides, inflation is found to Granger-cause relative price variability. These conclusions are shown to be robust to the degree of commodity aggregation.
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