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Errors of Measurement in Output Deflators

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  • Lichtenberg, Frank R
  • Griliches, Zvi

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the incidence of measurement errors in two independent estimates of long-term price change, within the framework of "multiple indicators" models of price measurement. We develop estimates of the measurement-error variances associated with both the Producer Price Index (PPI) and the Census Unit Value Relative (UVR) . Our estimates provide support for the generally accepted view that the PPI is a far more reliable indicator of long-term price change: the estimated signal-to-noise ratios for the PPI and UVR are 2.72 and 0.53, respectively. Our estimates should be useful for both constructing an optimal indicator of price change, and for identifying econometric models including error-ridden price- or output-growth terms as regressors. Our analysis suggests that "scores" assigned to product deflators provide useful information about their reliability. By extending our model to explicitly incorporate product-quality change, we are able to assess the importance of the problem posed by quality change for price and productivity measurement. Less than half of quality change, which we estimate to occur at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent, appears to be adjusted for in the PPI. Consequently, estimates of productivity growth based on the PPI underestimate "quality-adjusted" productivity growth by an estimated 43 percent.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lichtenberg, Frank R & Griliches, Zvi, 1989. "Errors of Measurement in Output Deflators," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:7:y:1989:i:1:p:1-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Data Problems in Econometrics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Interindustry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth: A Reexamination," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 241-250 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. George J. Stigler & James K. Kindahl, 1970. "The Behavior of Industrial Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number stig70-1, June.
    4. Lichtenberg, Frank R., 1986. "Energy prices and induced innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 67-75, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Hooper & Elizabeth Vranlovich, 1995. "International comparisons of the levels of unit labor costs in manufacturing," International Finance Discussion Papers 527, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Wynne, Mark A & Sigalla, Fiona D, 1996. " A Survey of Measurement Biases in Price Indexes," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 55-89, March.
    3. Miron, Jeffrey A. & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1989. "Production, sales, and the change in inventories : An identity that doesn't add up," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 31-51, July.
    4. Bosworth, Derek & Massini, Silvia & Nakayama, Masako, 2005. "Quality change and productivity improvement in the Japanese economy," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, January.
    5. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1993. "The Output Contributions of Computer Equipment and Personnel: A Firm- Level Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Fabrizio Balassone & Maura Francese & Stefania Zotteri, 2008. "Cyclical asymmetry in fiscal variables," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 671, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    7. William Alterman, 1991. "Price Trends in U.S. Trade: New Data, New Insights," NBER Chapters,in: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research, pages 109-143 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Thomas A Abbott III, 1992. "Price Dispersion In U.S. Manufacturing: Implications For The Aggregation Of Products And Firms," Working Papers 92-3, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2005. "Exploring the Patent Explosion," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(2_2), pages 35-48, January.
    10. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1998. "Technological Change and the Skill Acquisition of Young Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 718-755, October.
    11. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "Taxes and the quality of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 519-543, March.
    12. Wim Vanhaverbeke & Victor Gilsing & Bonnie Beerkens & Geert Duysters, 2009. "The Role of Alliance Network Redundancy in the Creation of Core and Non-core Technologies," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 215-244, March.
    13. Jeffrey Bernstein & Theofanis Mamuneas, 2008. "Public infrastructure, input efficiency and productivity growth in the Canadian food processing industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 1-13, February.
    14. Jes??s Crespo-Cuaresma & Bal??zs ??gert & Thomas Reininger, 2004. "Interest Rate Pass-Through in New EU Member States: The Case of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-671, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    15. Donald Siegel & Zvi Griliches, 1992. "Purchased Services, Outsourcing, Computers, and Productivity in Manufacturing," NBER Chapters,in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 429-460 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Tamvada, Jagannadha Pawan, 2010. "The Dynamics of Self-employment in a Developing Country: Evidence from India," MPRA Paper 20042, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Freeman, Scott L. & Niefer, Mark J. & Roop, Joseph M., 1997. "Measuring industrial energy intensity: practical issues and problems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(7-9), pages 703-714.
    18. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:24:y:1993:i:1993-2m:p:1-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Donald Siegel, 1991. "Errors in Output Deflators Revisited: Unit Values and the PPI," NBER Working Papers 3935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Georganta, Zoe, 1997. "The effect of a free market price mechanism on total factor productivity: The case of the agricultural crop industry in Greece," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 55-71, October.
    21. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Mamuneas, Theofanis P., 2006. "R&D depreciation, stocks, user costs and productivity growth for US R&D intensive industries," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 70-98, January.

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