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Medical Care Price Indices: Problems and Opportunities / The Chung-Hua Lectures

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  • Joseph P. Newhouse

Abstract

These Chung-Hua Lectures, given at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan in December 2000, summarize work that has been done by myself and others on biases in medical care price indices. I begin by reviewing various uses of price indices and therefore why biases in the overall indices - and changes in those biases - matter. I then describe briefly the assumptions and theory underlying the official price indices. I next turn to the problems of measuring medical prices, assuming the basic applicability of the theory upon which the official indices are based. Finally I take up the potential inapplicability of the assumptions made by that theory and the resulting issues for measuring medical price changes. I describe an alternative theory and its implications for the measurement of medical prices. I conclude that the biases in the official medical care index, while substantially reduced by recent improvements, likely remain substantial enough to affect the overall official indices in the United States, especially the GDP deflator, where the weight of medical care is around 13 percent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8168.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8168

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Cited by:
  1. Robert J. Gordon, 2006. "The Boskin Commission Report: A Retrospective One Decade Later," NBER Working Papers 12311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jochen Hartwig, 2006. "What Drives Health Care Expenditure? Baumol’s Model of ‘Unbalanced Growth’ Revisited," KOF Working papers 06-133, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  3. Okunade, Albert A. & Murthy, Vasudeva N. R., 2002. "Technology as a 'major driver' of health care costs: a cointegration analysis of the Newhouse conjecture," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 147-159, January.
  4. Jochen Hartwig, 2005. "Sind unsere gesamtwirtschaftlichen Probleme überhaupt lösbar?," KOF Working papers 05-112, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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