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Evidence of a modest price decline in US broadband services

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  • Greenstein, Shane
  • McDevitt, Ryan

Abstract

In this paper, we construct a consumer price index for broadband services in the United States using over 1500 service contracts offered by DSL and cable providers from 2004 through 2009. This exercise frames a range of open questions about measuring price changes in a manner that informs policy discussions about US broadband services. We employ approaches used commonly for constructing a consumer price index by using a mix of matched-model methods and hedonic price index estimations to adjust for qualitative improvements. We find a quality-adjusted price decline, but the evidence points towards a modest decline at most. Our estimates of the price decline range from 3% to 10% in quality-adjusted terms for the 5-years period, which is faster than the BLS estimates for the last 3Â years. In contrast to other innovative industries that experience rapid price declines, such as computers or integrated circuits, the modest price decline for broadband services raises many questions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 23 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 200-211

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:200-211

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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Keywords: Broadband Price index DSL Cable Internet access Policy;

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References

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  1. Griliches, Z. & Cockborn, I., 1993. "Generics and New Goods in Pharmaceutical Price Indexes," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1664, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. repec:reg:wpaper:36 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Ernst R. Berndt & Neal J. Rappaport, 2001. "Price and Quality of Desktop and Mobile Personal Computers: A Quarter-Century Historical Overview," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 268-273, May.
  4. Savage Scott J. & Waldman Donald M., 2004. "United States Demand for Internet Access," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-20, September.
  5. Stranger, Greg & Greenstein, Shane, 2008. "Pricing in the shadow of firm turnover: ISPs during the 1990s," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 625-642, May.
  6. Shane Greenstein & Ryan C. McDevitt, 2009. "The Broadband Bonus: Accounting for Broadband Internet's Impact on U.S. GDP," NBER Working Papers 14758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ana Aizcorbe, 2006. "Why Did Semiconductor Price Indexes Fall So Fast in the 1990s? A Decomposition," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 485-496, July.
  8. Gregory Rosston & Scott Savage & Donald Waldman, 2010. "Household Demand for Broadband Internet Service," Discussion Papers 09-008, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, revised Feb 2010.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey T. Prince & Shane Greenstein, 2011. "Does Service Bundling Reduce Churn?," Working Papers 2011-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.

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