The Postwar Evolution of Computer Prices
AbstractThis study constructs new hedonic price indexes for electronic computers covering the period 1951-84. Regressions are estimated for four data sets, two used in previous studies by G. Chow and E. Dulberger, and two new data sets used for the first time in this study. Coverage is limited to mainframes until the late 1970s, but includes both " super-mini" computers and personal computers in the 1980s. The end result is a price index that exhibits a 1951 index number, on a base 1984 = 100, of 147,692, implying an annual rate of price change over the 33 years of -19.8 percent. Price changes for personal computer (PC) processors during the 1982-86 period appear to have been similar to those for mainframe computers during the 1977-84 period, in the range of -20 to -25 percent per year. Evidence for PC peripheral equipment is limited to 1984-86 and indicates a faster rate of price decline than for processors, particularly if the increasing availability of "clones" is taken into account. The paper places considerable emphasis on problems of weighting price indexes for computers together with price indexes for other types of "Office, Computing, and Accounting Machinery" (OCA) and other types of producers' durable equipment (PDE). The methodology used to construct the implicit price deflators in the National Income and Product Accounts, with a fixed 1982 base year, leads to a significant downward bias in the implicit OCA and PDE deflators after 1982, and an upward bias prior to 1982. A particularly disturbing aspect of the present national accounts is a spurious rise in the implicit OCA deflator of 157 percent between 1957 and 1971, despite the fact that its computer component exhibits a price decline and its non-computer component increases by only 8 percent. The paper recommends adoption of a chain-linked Laspeyres index number for any price index aggregate that includes computers. A properly weighted PDE deflator, using our computer price index, declines relative to the official implicit PDE deflator by 0.74 percent per year during 1957-72 and 0.87 percent per year during 1972-84.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2227.
Date of creation: Apr 1987
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Technology and Capital Formation, edited by Dale W. Jorgenson and Ralph Landau, pp. 77-125. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Edward F. Denison, 1957. "Theoretical Aspects of Quality Change, Capital Consumption, and Net Capital Formation," NBER Chapters, in: Problems of Capital Formation: Concepts, Measurement, and Controlling Factors, pages 215-284 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gandal, N., 1992.
"Hedonic Price Indexes for Spreadsheets and an Empirical Test of the Network Externalities Hypothesis,"
18-92, Tel Aviv.
- Neil Gandal, 1993. "Hedonic price indexes for spreadsheets and an empirical test of the network externalities hypothesis," Industrial Organization 9309002, EconWPA.
- Lindquist, Matthew J., 2002.
"Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle,"
Research Papers in Economics
2002:14, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2003.
- Matthew J. Lindquist, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 519-540, July.
- Carlén, Björn, 2002. "Exclusionary Manipulation of Carbon Permit Markets: A Laboratory Test," Research Papers in Economics 2002:15, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
- Robert J. Gordon, 2009.
"Apparel Prices 1914-93 and the Hulten/Bruegel Paradox,"
in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 85-128
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert J. Gordon, 2005. "Apparel Prices 1914-93 and the Hulten/Brueghel Paradox," NBER Working Papers 11548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- W. Erwin Diewert, 1995. "Price and Volume Measures in the System of National Accounts," NBER Working Papers 5103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Meijers,Huub & Hollanders,Hugo, 2003. "Sources of Growth: Measuring the Knowledge Based Economy," Research Memorandum 032, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- Ernst R. Berndt & Zvi Griliches, 1993.
"Price Indexes for Microcomputers: An Exploratory Study,"
in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 63-100
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ernst R. Berndt & Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Price Indexes for Microcomputers: An Exploratory Study," NBER Working Papers 3378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steinmueller ,W. Edward, 1995. "The U.S. software industry : an analysis and interpretative history," Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
- Shane M. Greenstein & James B. Wade, 1997. "Dynamic Modeling of the Product Life Cycle in the Commercial Mainframe Computer Market, 1968-1982," NBER Working Papers 6124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Timothy F. Bresnahan & Franco Malerba, 1997. "Industrial Dynamics and the Evolution of Firms' and Nations' Competitive Capabilities in the World Computer Industry," Working Papers 97030, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Steven Caudill & Daniel Gropper, 1997. "A quality-adjusted price index for mainframe computers," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(12), pages 1605-1610.
- Catherine Beaudry, 2006. "Enterprise in orbit: The supply of communication satellites," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(7), pages 679-700.
- Darrell Parsons & Calvin Gotlieb & Michael Denny, 1993. "Productivity and computers in Canadian banking," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 95-113, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.