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New Goods and Index Numbers: U.S. Import Prices

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  • Robert C. Feenstra

Abstract

Researchers constructing index number frequently face the problem of new (or disappearing) goods, for which the price and quantity are not available in some periods. In theory, the correct way to handle a new good is to treat its price before it appears as equal to the reservation price (i.e., where demand is zero); in practice, this method can be difficult to implement. However, if the underlying aggregator function is CES then the reservation price is infinity, and we show that the corresponding price index takes on a very sensible form. We apply this formula to measure the price index for six disaggregate U.S. imports, which have been supplied from many new countries over the past several decades. We find that by incorporating the new supplying countries, the price index for developing countries is significantly lower than would otherwise be measured.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3610.

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Date of creation: Feb 1991
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Publication status: published as revised as "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices", American Economic Review, Vol. 84, no. 1, pp. 157-177, (March 1994).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3610

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  1. Feenstra, Robert C & Markusen, James R, 1994. "Accounting for Growth with New Inputs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(2), pages 429-47, May.
  2. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  3. Kravis, Irving B, 1984. "Comparative Studies of National Incomes and Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 1-39, March.
  4. Peter Hooper, 1989. "Exchange rates and U.S. external adjustment in the short run and the long run," International Finance Discussion Papers 346, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Makoto Ohta & Zvi Griliches, 1976. "Automobile Prices Revisited: Extensions of the Hedonic Hypothesis," NBER Chapters, in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 325-398 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sato, Kazuo, 1976. "The Ideal Log-Change Index Number," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(2), pages 223-28, May.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1989. "Differences in income elasticities and trends in real exchange rates," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 1031-1046, May.
  8. White, Halbert, 1980. "Nonlinear Regression on Cross-Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 721-46, April.
  9. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R & Diewert, W Erwin, 1982. "The Economic Theory of Index Numbers and the Measurement of Input, Output, and Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1393-1414, November.
  10. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  12. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  13. Houthakker, Hendrik S & Magee, Stephen P, 1969. "Income and Price Elasticities in World Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(2), pages 111-25, May.
  14. Goldstein, Morris & Khan, Mohsin S., 1985. "Income and price effects in foreign trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1041-1105 Elsevier.
  15. Grossman, Gene M, 1982. "Import Competition from Developed and Developing Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(2), pages 271-81, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Bernard Fingleton & Miguel Gómez-Antonio, 2009. "Analysing the impact of public capital stock using the NEG wage equation: a panel data approach," Working Papers 0912, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  2. Jean Imbs & Isabelle Mˆmjean, 2008. "Elasticity Optimism," Working Papers 242008, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  3. Corbo, Vesna & Osbat, Chiara, 2012. "Optimism bias? The elasticity puzzle in international economics revisited," Working Paper Series 1482, European Central Bank.
  4. Feenstra, Robert C & Markusen, James R, 1994. "Accounting for Growth with New Inputs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(2), pages 429-47, May.
  5. Corbo, Vesna & Osbat, Chiara, 2013. "Trade adjustment in the European Union - a structural estimation approach," Working Paper Series 1535, European Central Bank.
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1997. "The Commission Report on the Consumer Price Index (panel discussion)," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 169-173.
  7. Lukas Mohler, 2009. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety: The Case of a Small Open Economy," FIW Working Paper series 031, FIW.

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