Do Higher Prices for New Goods Reflect Quality Growth or Inflation?
Much of Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation for consumer durables reflects shifts to newer product models that display higher prices, not price increases for a given set of goods. I examine how these higher prices for new models should be divided between quality growth and price inflation based on (a) whether consumer purchases shift toward or away from the new models and (b) whether new-model price increases generate higher relative prices that persist through the model cycle. I conclude that two-thirds of the price increases with new models should be treated as quality growth. This implies that CPI inflation for durables has been overstated by almost 2 percentage points per year, with quality growth understated by the same magnitude. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..
Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/ |
|Order Information:||Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00335533|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:2:p:637-675. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.