The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper assesses inflation risks resulting from the convergence of structures of relative prices in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries toward the European Union (EU). The basic idea of the paper is that under low downward flexibility of domestic nominal prices, the adjustment of relative price structures is likely to lead to higher inflation. The authors find that the degree of differences in the structures of relative prices in transition economies vis-à-vis EU economies has a strong negative relationship to price levels in the transition economies. Based on their calculations, the authors assess the likely future inflationary pressures that can stem from the remaining differences between the structures of relative prices in the CEE economies and the EU. The authors argue that their approach can be thought of as an extension of the standard Balassa-Samuelson explanation of international variability in price levels.