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Has globalisation changed the Phillips curve? Firm-level evidence on the effect of activity on prices

Gaiotti, Eugenio (2008): Has globalisation changed the Phillips curve? Firm-level evidence on the effect of activity on prices.

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Abstract

It has been recently argued that the flattening of the Phillips curve, observed in the main industrial countries over the last two decades, is due to globalisation, which exposes domestic firms to fiercer international competition and severs the link between domestic demand and pricing. A more traditional explanation, with very different policy implications, centres on an increase in the credibility of the monetary regime. Substantial identification problems plague the empirical literature on this issue. We take advantage of a unique dataset including firm-level information on the pricing, capacity utilisation, export orientation, foreign competition, import penetration and delocalisation activity of about 2,000 Italian firms in the period 1988-2005; we test whether the finding of a weaker link between capacity utilisation and prices is confirmed at company level, whether it is robust to controlling for inflation expectations and whether it is concentrated among those firms that are more exposed to globalisation. According to the evidence presented, this is not the case. The conclusion is that the observed flattening of the Phillips curve is not due to globalisation.

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