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Flach, Lisandra; Janeba, Eckhard (February 2017): Income inequality and export prices across countries. In: Canadian Journal of Economics-Revue Canadienne D Economique, Vol. 50, No. 1: pp. 162-200
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Abstract

This paper provides theory and evidence on the links between income inequality within a destination country and the patterns of trade and export prices. The theoretical framework relates income inequality to product quality and prices using a simple demand composition effect. The model predicts that a more unequal income distribution in a destination country leads to higher average prices, though the effect is nonlinear and disappears for rich enough countries. The predictions are tested using detailed firm-level data. Controlling for income per capita, prices are systematically higher in more unequal destinations, and the strength of this effect depends on income per capita. Results are particularly important for middle-income countries and hold only for differentiated goods, and in particular for products with a high degree of vertical differentiation.