Seminario Applied

Julian di Giovanni



Seminar 3 – 12:00


This paper shows that an income effect can drive expenditure switching between domestic and imported goods. We use a unique Latvian scanner-level dataset, covering the 2008-09 crisis, to document several empirical findings. First, expenditure switching accounted for one-third of the fall in imports, and took place within narrowly-defined product groups. Second, there was no corresponding within-group change in relative prices. Third, consumers substituted from expensive imports to cheaper domestic alternatives. These findings motivate us to estimate a model of non-homothetic consumer demand, which explains 80% of the observed expenditure switching. Estimated switching is driven by income, not relative prices.

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