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Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity


Chang-Tai Hsieh


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter J. Klenow


Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

May 2003

NBER Working Paper No. w9701

Abstract:     
The positive correlation between PPP investment rates and PPP income levels across countries is one of the most robust findings of the empirical growth literature. We show that this relationship is almost entirely driven by differences in the price of investment relative to output across countries. When measured at domestic prices rather than at international prices, investment rates are little correlated with PPP incomes. We find that the high relative price of investment in poor countries is solely due to the low price of consumption goods in poor countries. Investment prices are no higher in poor countries than in rich countries. These facts suggest that the low PPP investment rates in poor countries are not due to low savings rates or to high tax or tariff rates on investment. Poor countries instead appear to be plagued by low efficiency in producing investment goods and in producing exportables to trade for machinery and equipment.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

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Date posted: May 19, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Hsieh, Chang-Tai and Klenow, Peter J., Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity (May 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9701. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=408197

Contact Information

Chang-Tai Hsieh (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )
549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Peter J. Klenow
Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )
Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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