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Ex Post Versus Ex Ante Measures Of The User Cost Of Capital

  • Nicholas Oulton

Should we use ex post or ex ante measures of user costs to calculate the contribution of capital in a growth accounting exercise? The answer, based on a simple model of temporary equilibrium, is that ex post is better in theory. In practice researchers usually calculate ex post user costs by assuming that the rate of return is equalized across assets. But this is only true if expectations are correct. In general, the ex post rate of return differs between assets, even though ex ante it is the same. I propose a hybrid method. The index of capital services is estimated using ex ante weights; the contribution of capital is the growth of this index multiplied by the ex post income share of capital. I show that this method is theoretically correct if the production function is CES. I compare the ex post, ex ante and hybrid methods using data for 31 U.K. industries from 1970 to 2000. Copyright 2007 The Author; Journal compilation International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2007.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income and Wealth.

Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 295-317

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:53:y:2007:i:2:p:295-317
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  1. Berndt, Ernst R. & Fuss, Melvyn A., 1986. "Productivity measurement with adjustments for variations in capacity utilization and other forms of temporary equilibrium," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 7-29.
  2. Paul Schreyer, 2001. "The OECD Productivity Manual: A Guide to the Measurement of Industry-Level and Aggregate Productivity," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 2, pages 37-51, Spring.
  3. Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "Capital stocks, capital services, and depreciation: an integrated framework," Bank of England working papers 192, Bank of England.
  4. Paul Schreyer & Pierre-Emmanuel Bignon & Julien Dupont, 2003. "OECD Capital Services Estimates: Methodology and a First Set of Results," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2003/6, OECD Publishing.
  5. W. Erwin Diewert, 1980. "Aggregation Problems in the Measurement of Capital," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Capital, pages 433-538 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W, 1969. "The Measurement of U.S. Real Capital Input, 1929-1967," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 15(4), pages 293-320, December.
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