Balassa-Samuelson Effect


DEFINITION of 'Balassa-Samuelson Effect'

Countries with high productivity growth also experience high wage growth, which leads to higher real exchange rates. The Balassa-Samuelson effect suggests that an increase in wages in the tradable goods sector of an emerging economy will also lead to higher wages in the non-tradable (service) sector of the economy. The accompanying increase in inflation makes inflation rates higher in faster growing economies than it is in slow growing, developed economies.

The effect was proposed by economists Bela Balassa and Paul Samuelson in 1963.

BREAKING DOWN 'Balassa-Samuelson Effect'

The Balassa-Samuelson effect suggests that the optimal inflation rate for developing economies is higher than it is for developed countries. Developing economies grow by becoming more productive and using land, labor and capital more efficiently. This results in wage growth in both the tradable good and non-tradable good components of an economy. People consume more goods and services as their wages increase, which in turn pushes up prices.

As emerging economies develop and become more productive they also see increased wages, but they see these increases in both tradable and non-tradable goods sectors of the economy. When wages increase at a slower rate than productivity, countries wind up producing more than they can consume. These countries then have a current-account surplus. When wages grow faster than the productivity rate, workers consumer more goods and the current-account surplus falls.

The effect an appreciating real exchange rate has on an emerging economy depends on whether the country has a fixed exchange rate or floating exchange rate. Fixed exchange rate economies will see an increase in overall prices, while floating exchange rates will see increases in the exchange rate.

  1. Exchange Rate

    The price of a nation’s currency in terms of another currency. ...
  2. Floating Exchange Rate

    A country's exchange rate regime where its currency is set by ...
  3. Fixed Exchange Rate

    A country's exchange rate regime under which the government or ...
  4. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s ...
  5. Surplus

    The amount of an asset or resource that exceeds the portion that ...
  6. Factor Market

    A marketplace for the services of a factor of production.
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Investing In Emerging Market Debt

    This asset class has left much of its unstable past behind. Find out how to invest in it.
  2. Forex Education

    The New World Of Emerging Market Currencies

    Take advantage of foreign currency markets without stepping out of your house.
  3. Insurance

    What is a Force Majeure?

    A force majeure clause frees both parties in a contract from fulfilling their obligations in the event of some catastrophic or unexpected occurrence.
  4. Economics

    Calculating Cross Elasticity of Demand

    Cross elasticity of demand measures the quantity demanded of one good in response to a change in price of another.
  5. Economics

    What's Economic Capital?

    While regulatory and economic capital use some of the same measurements of risk to determine how much capital a firm should hold in reserve, economic capital uses more realistic measures.
  6. Economics

    What is Economic Rent?

    Economic rent typically occurs when a product, service or property is in short supply, but demand is high.
  7. Economics

    Oil Is Cheaper Than Bread In Venezuela...The Country Is In Chaos

    Venezuela is floundering, and the story has more to do with just the falling price of oil.
  8. Economics

    Understanding Production Efficiency

    Production efficiency is the point at which an economy cannot increase output of a good or service without lowering the production of another product.
  9. Economics

    What Does a Central Bank Do?

    A central bank oversees a nation’s monetary system.
  10. Forex Fundamentals

    How Foreign Exchange Affects Mergers and Acquisitions Deals

    Learn how foreign exchange rates can impact the flows of international merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, and understand how deals can impact exchange rates.
  1. Is Colombia an emerging market economy?

    Colombia meets the criteria of an emerging market economy. The South American country has a much lower gross domestic product, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Is Mexico an emerging market economy?

    Mexico meets all the criteria of an emerging market economy. The country's gross domestic product, or GDP, per capita beats ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is Argentina a developed country?

    Argentina is not a developed country. It has one of the strongest economies in South America or Central America and ranks ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is Brazil a developed country?

    Brazil is not a developed country. Though it has the largest economy in South America or Central America, Brazil is still ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between marginal utility and marginal value?

    Depending on the context, marginal utility and marginal value can describe the same thing. The key word for each is "marginal," ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. In economics, what is an index number?

    Economists often make comparisons between sets of data across time. For example, a macroeconomist might want to measure changes ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!