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Valuation of New Goods under Perfect and Imperfect Competition

In: The Economics of New Goods

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  • Jerry A. Hausman

Abstract

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) attempts to answer the question of how much more (or less) income does a consumer require to be as well off in period 1 as in period 0 given changes in prices, changes in the quality of goods, and the introduction of new goods (or the disappearance of existing goods). In this paper I explain the theory of cost-of-living indices and demonstrate how new goods should be included using the classical theory of Hicks and Rothbarth. The correct price to use for the good in the pre-intro- duction period is a `virtual' price which sets demand to zero. Estimation of this virtual price requires estimation of a demand function which in turn provides the expenditure function which allows exact calucation of the cost of living index. The data requirements and need to specify and estimate a demand function for a new brand among many existing brands requires extensive data and some new econometric methods which may have proven obstacles to the inclusion of new goods in the CPI up to this point. As an example I use the introduction of a new cereal brand by General Mills in 1989-Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. I find the virtual price is about 2 times the actual price of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and that increase in consumer surplus is substantial. Based on some simplifying approximations, I find that CPI may be overstated for cereal by about 25% because of its neglect of the effect of new brands. When I take imperfect competition into account I find that the increase in consumer welfare is only 85% as high with perfect competition so CPI for cereal would still be 20% too high

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This chapter was published in:

  • Timothy F. Bresnahan & Robert J. Gordon, 1996. "The Economics of New Goods," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bres96-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6068.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6068

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
    2. Hausman, Jerry A., 1980. "The effect of wages, taxes, and fixed costs on women's labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 161-194, October.
    3. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, October.
    4. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-30, December.
    5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    6. Neary, J. P. & Roberts, K. W. S., 1980. "The theory of household behaviour under rationing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 25-42, January.
    7. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
    8. Hausman, Jerry A. & Taylor, William E., 1981. "Panel data and unobservable individual effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 155-155, May.
    9. Breusch, Trevor S & Mizon, Grayham E & Schmidt, Peter, 1989. "Efficient Estimation Using Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 695-700, May.
    10. Jerry HAUSMAN & Gregory LEONARD & J. Douglas ZONA, 1994. "Competitive Analysis with Differentiated Products," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 159-180.
    11. Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-76, September.
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    1. The welfare effect of Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios
      by datacharmer in bluematter on 2007-09-25 00:05:00
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