Publications of Rátfai, A.

The border effect in small open economies

Abstract: This paper examines the importance of the national border in relative price variability in two neighboring, small open economies. Using monthly frequency price data of narrowly defined, homogenous consumer products, it finds that the time-series variation in within-country relative prices is about the same in the two countries. After controlling for distance, relative price variation is significantly higher across than within countries. The border is the dominant determinant of relative prices, even after accounting for nominal exchange rate variability and local culture as represented by language spoken. Our estimates of the border effect are largely immune to the bias identified in Gorodnichenko and Tesar [Gorodnichenko, Y., Tesar, L., 2006. Border effect or country effect? Seattle is 110miles from Vancouver after all. Unpublished manuscript]. Copyright 2008 ElsevierCopyright of Economic Systems is the property of Elsevier Science Publishing Company, Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Horváth J, Rátfai A, Döme B. Relative price variability in two small open economies. In: Proceeding of International Conference on Development Organized by the Moscow School of Economics.; 2007.

Relative price variability in two small open economies

Proceeding of International Conference on Development Organized by the Moscow School of Economics, APril 2007

The frequency and size of price adjustment: microeconomic evidence

This paper presents direct, non-parametric microeconomic evidence on pricing behavior and evaluates the findings in light of theories of nominal price rigidity. The main issues examined include the durability of price quotations and the size of price changes. The analysis is based on a unique high-frequency panel data set of consumer prices recorded in 1993–1996 in Hungary. The results indicate that price adjustment patterns in the sample are primarily consistent with implications of two-sided (S,s) pricing models. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORCopyright of Managerial & Decision Economics is the property of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / Business and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Cyclical fluctuations in CIS economies

This paper documents a number of stylized facts of quarterly frequency cyclical fluctuations in a specific group of developing economies, previously belonging to the same country organization, the former Soviet Union. We find that in these countries (1) fluctuations are in general less persistent than elsewhere; (2) private consumption is extremely volatile; (3) net exports are procyclical and persistent in commodity exporter countries; (4) government consumption is a very important, dominantly procyclical determinant of output; (5) Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and to a smaller degree, Kazakhstan and Moldova are surprisingly similar in the behavior of their GDP components, industrial production and certain nominal variables; (6) there is mixed evidence regarding the dominance of supply versus demand shocks.

How fast is convergence to the law of one price? Very

In a highly disaggregated product-level sample of monthly frequency prices, the degree of persistence in cross-location price differentials is estimated. When location specific effects are accounted for in measuring price differentials, the median half-life of the conditional convergence to the Law of One Price is about four months. The degree of persistence is related to the mean and volatility in product price inflation. The equilibrium level of price differentials depends on the relative size of the location, but not on its geographical position.

Linking individual and aggregate price changes

This paper studies the implications of lumpiness and heterogeneity in microeconomic pricing decisions for dynamics in price aggregates. To capture the latent deviation between actual and target prices, it develops a semi-structural empirical model of two-sided (S,s) price setting. Applying the model to a unique panel of store level retail prices reveals that fluctuations in the shape of cross-sectional price deviation densities contain extra information on aggregate price change dynamics. Asymmetry in the density particularly matters. Idiosyncratic shocks magnify the size, but do not alter the direction of aggregate fluctuations. When the target price is proxied by the cross-store mean price, the link between inflation and the price deviation density disappears. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORCopyright of Journal of Money, Credit & Banking is the property of Ohio State University Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Economic fluctuations in Central and Eastern Europe: the facts

We carry out a detailed analysis of quarterly frequency dynamics in macroeconomic aggregates in twelve countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The facts we document include the variability and persistence in and the co-movement among output, and other major real and nominal variables. We find that consumption is highly volatile and government spending is procyclical. Gross fixed capital formation is highly volatile. Net exports are countercyclical. Imports are procyclical, much more than exports. Exports are most procyclical and persistent in open countries. Labour market variables are all highly volatile. Employment is lagging, and often procyclical. Real wages are dominantly procyclical. Productivity is dominantly procyclical and coincidental. Private credit is procyclical and dominantly lagging the cycle. The CPI is countercyclical, and is weakly leading or coincidental. The cyclicality of inflation is unclear, but its relative volatility is low. Net capital flows are mostly leading and procyclical and exhibit low persistence. Nominal interest rates are in general smooth and persistent. The nominal exchange rate is more persistent than the real one. Overall, we find that fluctuations in CEE countries are larger than in industrial countries, and are of similar size than in other emerging economies. This is particularly true about private consumption. The co-movement of variables, however, shows a large degree of similarity. A notable exception is government spending: unlike in industrial economies, it is rather procyclical in transition economies. The findings also indicate that Croatia and the accession group show broadly similar cyclical behaviour to industrial countries. The most frequent country outliers are Bulgaria, Romania and Russia, especially in labour market, price and exchange rate variables. Excluding these countries from the sample makes many of the observed patterns in cyclical dynamics quite homogenous.

Supply and demand shocks in accession countries to the Economic and Monetary Union

The success of the enlarged Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) depends on the relative incidence of demand and supply shocks in both the participating and the accession countries. This paper addresses the issue using bivariate vector autoregression models for current and would-be EMU member countries. While the degree of symmetry in business cycle shocks among EMU accession countries is significant, idiosyncratic shocks between current and would-be member states dominate. Our results suggest a costly process of adjustment following EMU enlargement. (C) 2004 Association for Comparative Economic Studies. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Inflation and relative price asymmetry

By placing store-level price data into bivariate Structural VAR models of inflation and relative price asymmetry, this study evaluates the quantitative importance of idiosyncratic pricing shocks in short-run aggregate price change dynamics. Robustly to alternative definitions of the relative price, identification schemes dictated by two-sided (S,s) pricing theory and measures of asymmetry in the relative price distribution, idiosyncratic shocks explain about 25 to 30 percent of the forecast error variance in inflation at the 12-month horizon. While the contemporaneous correlation between inflation and relative price asymmetry is positive, idiosyncratic shocks lead to a substantial build-up in inflation only after two to five months following the initial disturbance.

Linking individual and aggregate price changes

10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002

Rátfai A. Inflation and relative price assymetry. Budapest: Central European University. Economics Department; 2001.

The size, frequency and synchronization of price adjustment: microeconomic evidence

This paper presents non-parametric microeconomic evidence on storesÂ’ price setting behavior and evaluates the findings in light of theories of nominal price rigidity. The main issues include the durability of price quotations, the size, the frequency and the across-store and within-store synchronization of price changes. The analysis is based on a unique, high frequency panel data set of consumer prices recorded between 1993 and 1996 in Hungary. The results indicate that basic price adjustment patterns tend to be consistent with implications of two-sided (S,s) pricing models. Other popular macroeconomic models of price setting are boldly violated by the data.

Linking individual and aggregate price changes

Standard macroeconomic forecasting indicators and techniques tend to perform poorly in predicting inflation in the short-run. The present paper shows that microeconomic price data placed in an empirical model rooted in (S,s) pricing theory convey extra information on inflation dynamics. The empirical model designed to capture the deviation between target and actual price, potentially applicable in other contexts where lumpy adjustment is prevalent, is applied to a unique, highly disaggregated panel data set of consumer prices. Fluctuations in the shape of the cross-sectional density of price deviations are found to contribute to short-run inflation in the sample. Asymmetry in the density particularly matters. Idiosyncratic pricing shocks appear to impact on the size rather than the direction of inflation fluctuations.

A note on the independence of central banks in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland

This essay evaluates the legal independence of central banks in three Eastern European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. It provides a descriptive account of monetary policy making in these countries and interprets the relevant central bank charters in light of arguments for central bank independence. Information found in the legal documents is summarized in quantitative indices. The main finding is that the three central banks exhibit a similar degree of legal independence, which does not differ from that of the Bundesbank.

Relative price skewness and inflation: a structural VAR framework

This study evaluates the empirical significance of idiosyncratic pricing shocks in inflation dynamics. To this end, using store-level price data for a selected group of products and employing identification schemes dictated by (S,s) pricing theory, product-level Structural Vector Autoregressions comprised of inflation and relative price skewness are estimated. Robustly to alternative identification assumptions, definitions of the relative price and measures of asymmetry in relative price distributions, idiosyncratic shocks tend to explain about 25 to 30 percent of the forecast error variance in inflation rates at the 12-month horizon. They also lead to substantial build-up in inflation after about 3 to 5 months following the initial disturbance.

Book review

Book review of ‘Másként gazdálkodás’ by László Zsolnai

Vázlat a monetáris politika hitelességéről

The Credibility of Monetary Policy – A Review ; in Hungarian

A C, Rátfai A. Beruházási ciklusok. In: Ambrus-Lakatos L, editor. Gazdaság és társadalomtörténeti szöveggyűjtemény a szocializmus magyarországi történetének tanulmányozásához. Budapest: Aula; 1990.