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Sunk costs and the measurement of commercial property depreciation

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  • W. Erwin Diewert
  • Kevin J. Fox

Abstract

Developments in property markets greatly influence economic growth, monetary policy, productivity measurement, inflation measurement and hence welfare payments to the disadvantaged. Property price bubbles often lead to financial crises; those experienced during the 20th century were often triggered by commercial property price movements. Yet property poses significant challenges for national accountants in producing key economic variables used in informing policy assessment and formulation. To address these challenges, this paper formalizes a framework for measuring prices and quantities of capital inputs for a commercial property. In particular, it addresses problems associated with obtaining separate estimates for the land and structure components of a property, a decomposition of property value that is important for the national accounts, productivity measurement and taxation. A key contribution is to address the problem of estimating structure depreciation taking into account the fixity of the structure. We find that structure depreciation is determined primarily by the cash flows that the property generates rather than physical deterioration of the building. Finally, we provide a framework for the determination of the optimal length of life for a structure.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Erwin Diewert & Kevin J. Fox, 2016. "Sunk costs and the measurement of commercial property depreciation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1340-1366, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:49:y:2016:i:4:p:1340-1366
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12236
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Diewert, Erwin, 2019. "Measuring the Services of Durables and Owner Occupied Housing," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2019-5, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 21 Mar 2019.
    2. Amani, Elnasri & Fox, Kevin J., 2015. "R&D, Innovation and Productivity: The Role of Public Support," KDI Journal of Economic Policy, Korea Development Institute (KDI), vol. 37(1), pages 73-96.
    3. Erwin Diewert & Chihiro Shimizu, 2017. "Alternative Approaches to Commercial Property Price Indexes for Tokyo," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(3), pages 492-519, September.
    4. Diewert, Erwin, 2018. "Duality in Production," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2018-2, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 06 Feb 2018.
    5. Diewert, W. Erwin, 2017. "Productivity Measurement in the Public Sector: Theory and Practice," Microeconomics.ca working papers erwin_diewert-2017-1, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 02 Feb 2017.
    6. W. Erwin Diewert & Kevin J. Fox & Chihiro Shimizu, 2016. "Commercial Property Price Indexes And The System Of National Accounts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5), pages 913-943, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables

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