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Imperfect Mobility Of Labor Across Sectors: A Reappraisal Of The Balassa-Samuelson Effect

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  • Olivier Cardi
  • Romain Restout

Abstract

This paper investigates the relative price and relative wage effects of a higher productivity in the traded sector compared with the non traded sector in a two-sector open economy model with imperfect substitutability in hours worked across sectors. The Balassa- Samuelson model predicts that a rise in the sectoral productivity ratio by 1% raises the relative price of non tradables by 1% while leaving unchanged the non traded wage-traded wage ratio. Applying cointegration methods to a panel of fourteen OECD countries over the period 1970-2007, our estimates show that the relative price rises by only 0.78% while the relative wage falls by 0.27%. Hence, our first set of empirical ¯ndings cast doubt on the quantitative predictions of the Balassa-Samuelson model. A second set of empirical findings highlights the role of imperfect labor mobility: interacting the ratio of sectoral labor share-adjusted total factor productivities with an index of labor mobility across sectors, we find that the relative price responds more to a productivity differential between tradables and non tradables while the reaction of the relative wage is more muted as the degree of labor mobility increases. We show that the ability of the two-sector model to account for our evidence quantitatively relies upon two ingredients: i) imperfect mobility of labor across sectors, and ii) physical capital accumulation. Finally, our numerical results are robust to the introduction of i) non-separability in preferences between consumption and labor, and ii) traded investment.

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  • Olivier Cardi & Romain Restout, 2013. "Imperfect Mobility Of Labor Across Sectors: A Reappraisal Of The Balassa-Samuelson Effect," Working Papers of BETA 2013-04, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2013-04
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    7. Brede, Maren, 2018. "Real exchange rate dynamics in New-Keynesian models – The Balassa-Samuelson effect revisited," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181539, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Dada James Temitope & Olomola Philip Akanni & Ajide Folorunsho Monsur, 2020. "Productivity Bias Hypothesis: New Evidence from Parallel Market Exchange Rate," Economics, Sciendo, vol. 8(1), pages 31-40, June.
    9. Lis, Eliza & Nickel, Christiane & Papetti, Andrea, 2020. "Demographics and inflation in the euro area: a two-sector new Keynesian perspective," Working Paper Series 2382, European Central Bank.
    10. Cardi, Olivier & Restout, Romain & Claeys, Peter, 2020. "Imperfect mobility of labor across sectors and fiscal transmission," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    11. Noel GASTON & YOSHIMI Taiyo, 2020. "Heterogenous Job Separations and the Balassa-Samuelson Effect," Discussion papers 20032, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    12. Menzies, Gordon & Xiao, Sylvia Xiaolin & Dixon, Peter & Peng, Xiujian & Rimmer, Maureen, 2016. "Rural-led exchange rate appreciation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 15-30.
    13. Florian Morvillier, 2020. "Robustness of the Balassa-Samuelson effect: evidence from developing and emerging economies," EconomiX Working Papers 2020-18, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    14. Andrea Papetti, 2021. "Population aging, relative prices and capital flows across the globe," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1333, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    15. Max Groneck & Christoph Kaufmann, 2014. "Relative Sectoral Prices and Population Ageing: A Common Trend," Working Paper Series in Economics 69, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    16. Max Groneck & Christoph Kaufmann, 2017. "Determinants of Relative Sectoral Prices: The Role of Demographic Change," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(3), pages 319-347, June.
    17. Konopczak, Karolina & Welfe, Aleksander, 2017. "Convergence-driven inflation and the channels of its absorption," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 1019-1034.
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    Keywords

    Relative price of non tradables; Sectoral wages; Productivity growth; Sectoral labor reallocation; Investmen.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies

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