NBER Working Papers by Birgitta Swedenborg

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers

July 2007Explaining Product Price Differences Across Countries
with Robert E. Lipsey: w13239
A substantial part of international differences in prices of individual products, both goods and services, can be explained by differences in per capita income, wage compression, or low wage dispersion among low-wage workers, and short-term exchange rate fluctuations. Higher per capita income is associated with higher prices and higher wage dispersion with lower prices. The effects of higher income and wage dispersion are moderated for the more tradable products. The effects of wage dispersion, on the other hand, are magnified for the more labor-intensive products, particularly low-skill services. The differences in prices across countries are reflected in differences in the composition of consumption. Countries in which prices of labor-intensive services are very high, such as the Nor...
May 1997Wage Dispersion and Country Price Levels
with Robert E. Lipsey: w6039
The purpose of this paper was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the degree of wage dispersion in a country and its price level relative to other countries, compared in a common currency. It was found that once a country's real per capita income and deviations of its exchange rate from its trend value are allowed for, there is a pervasive relationship between wage dispersion and prices. Low wage dispersion, defined as a relatively small difference between the median wage and that of the lowest paid decile of workers, is associated with high price levels. The relationship applies more frequently to service prices than to goods prices, but where it does apply, the effects of wage dispersion are as large for goods as for services.

Published: Wage Dispersion and Country Price Levels, Robert E. Lipsey, Birgitta Swedenborg. in International and Interarea Comparisons of Income, Output, and Prices, Heston and Lipsey. 1999

December 1993The High Cost of Eating: Agricultural Protection and International Differences in Consumer Food Prices
with Robert E. Lipsey: w4555
Prices of food vary greatly among the developed countries, and some countries' food prices have been consistently far above the OECD average. The main explanation for persistently high food price levels is the extent of protection of agricultural products at the farm level, partly explainable by the desire to retain agriculture in the face of poor growing conditions. A second important influence for some countries is a high level of VAT on food. A third is deviations of aggregate country price levels from the levels that would be predicted from their per capita incomes, presumably because of omitted characteristics of the countries' economies, such as, possibly, inefficient or monopolistic service sectors. In addition, there are occasional episodes of high price levels due to temporary...

Published: Review of Income and Wealth, series 42, no. 2, pp. 181-194, June 1996.

March 1981Foreign Takeovers of Swedish Firms
with Robert E. Lipsey: w0641
The examination of foreign takeovers is a way of distinguishing between the characteristics of f inns and industries that encourage takeovers and the effects of foreignness or of takeovers per se. Foreigners have tended to take over Swedish firms that are of above average size within each industry. 'Very .few takeovers are of the smallest groups of firms: those with fewer than 20 employees or even those with fewer than 200. However, the firms taken over are not large compared to Swedish companies of 200 employees or more. In fact, they are well below average size within that group. The firms taken over are more skill-oriented or technology-oriented than Swedish-owned firms in the same industries. However, takeovers are not particularly prevalent in industries in which firms in general are ...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us