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Product Quality and International Price Dynamics over the Business Cycle

Marta Arespa Castello and Diego Gruber

Economica, 2021, vol. 88, issue 352, 1054-1074

Abstract: Two puzzling facts of international real business cycles are (1) weak or negative correlations between the terms of trade and output, and (2) a rise in relative consumption for countries where national goods become relatively more expensive. We show that these puzzles either vanish or become much weaker in recent data. We propose a new mechanism that generates endogenous international price movements that are consistent with both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ facts. In this mechanism, firms operating in a monopolistically competitive environment adjust price and quality of their products in response to technological shocks. This model is consistent with the old facts if price levels are not adjusted for quality. Instead, if quality adjustments to price level are introduced, then the model’s properties are in line with the new facts.

Date: 2021
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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:88:y:2021:i:352:p:1054-1074