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Quantifying Quality Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Mark Bils
  • Peter J. Klenow

Abstract

Using U.S. Consumer Expenditure Surveys, we estimate "quality Engel curves" for 66 durable goods based on the extent richer households pay more for each good. The same data show that the average price paid rises faster from 1980 to 1996 for goods with steeper quality Engel curves, as if households are ascending these curves. BLS prices likewise increase more quickly for goods with steeper quality Engel curves, suggesting the BLS does not fully net out the impact of quality upgrading. We estimate that annual quality growth averages 3.7 percent for our goods, with 2.2 percent showing up as higher inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2001. "Quantifying Quality Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1006-1030, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:4:p:1006-1030
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.4.1006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Randolph, William C, 1988. "Housing Depreciation and Aging Bias in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(3), pages 359-371, July.
    3. Brent R. Moulton & Karin E. Moses, 1997. "Addressing the Quality Change Issue in the Consumer Price Index," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 305-366.
    4. Steven Berry & Samuel Kortum & Ariel Pakes, 1996. "Environmental Change and Hedonic Cost Functions for Automobiles," NBER Working Papers 5746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1996. "Are Medical Prices Declining?," NBER Working Papers 5750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1996. "Dealer Price Discrimination in New Car Purchases: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 622-654, June.
    7. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1996. "Mismeasurement in the Consumer Price Index: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 93-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Manuel Trajtenberg, 1990. "Product Innovations, Price Indices and the (Mis)Measurement of Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 3261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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..
    10. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 1998. "Using Consumer Theory to Test Competing Business Cycle Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 233-261, April.
    11. Griliches, Zvi & Cockburn, Iain, 1994. "Generics and New Goods in Pharmaceutical Price Indexes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1213-1232, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment
    • L68 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Appliances; Furniture; Other Consumer Durables
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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