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Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector

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  • Christopher R. Knittel

Abstract

This paper estimates the technological progress that has occurred since 1980 in the automobile industry and the trade-offs faced when choosing between fuel economy, weight, and engine power characteristics. The results suggest that if weight, horsepower, and torque were held at their 1980 levels, fuel economy could have increased by nearly 60 percent from 1980 to 2006. Once technological progress is considered, meeting the CAFE standards adopted in 2007 will require halting the trend in weight and engine power characteristics, but little more. In contrast, the standards recently announced by the new administration, while attainable, require nontrivial "downsizing." (JEL: L50, L60)

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher R. Knittel, 2011. "Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3368-3399, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3368-99
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    2. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
    3. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment

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    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector (AER 2011) in ReplicationWiki

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