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Telecoms Deflators: A Story of Volume and Revenue Weights


  • Mo Abdirahman
  • Diane Coyle
  • Richard Heys
  • Will Stewart


[eng] Fast-changing technology products present inherent measurement challenges in relation to ensuring that deflators adequately adjust for quality change to allow a like-for-like comparison of volumes of output. Telecommunications services present significant challenges in this area not just because of rapid changes in prices and volumes, but also because the different services provided (text, voice, data) are displaying increasing substitutability. This paper builds on previous work by the authors to provide improved alternatives for telecoms services deflators, calculated for the UK, focussing on treatment of access charges and also whether using revenue weights or volume weights for fixed components of contract bundles delivers more reasonable results. Our new options deliver declines in the deflator series of between 64% and 85% between 2010 and 2017. These are far faster declines than the deflator calculated by the existing method but considerably reduce the range of price declines calculated in earlier work. Overall, we recommend using our volume-weighted deflator options, as these seem to better reflect how consumers evaluate the utility of different telecoms services components.

Suggested Citation

  • Mo Abdirahman & Diane Coyle & Richard Heys & Will Stewart, 2022. "Telecoms Deflators: A Story of Volume and Revenue Weights," Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE), issue 530-31, pages 43-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:nse:ecosta:ecostat_2022_530_3

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Diane Coyle & Jen‐Chung Mei, 2023. "Diagnosing the UK productivity slowdown: which sectors matter and why?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 90(359), pages 813-850, July.
    2. Diane Coyle, 2021. "The idea of productivity," Working Papers 003, The Productivity Institute.
    3. Coyle, Diane & Hampton, Lucy, 2024. "21st century progress in computing," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications


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