Computers and the Trade Deficit: The Case of the Falling Prices
In: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research
This paper investigates two issues related to international trade in computers: measurement and prediction. Because of the rapid technological advancement in the computer industry, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) measures computer prices using techniques that adjust for quality change. The constructed hedonic index is essentially a domestic price measure, but the BEA uses it for the deflation of international sales and purchases of computers. This paper begins with a review of the theory behind hedonic price indexes, and then proceeds to discuss the concerns that arise when a domestic index is used to deflate international transactions. ; If the computer industry is sufficiently different from other industries, separate treatment of computers in empirical models of international trade may be necessary to capture historical developments and predict future outcomes. This paper examines the simulation performance of a conventional aggregate trade model, a modified aggregate trade model, and a model that disaggregates computers. The model with computers disaggregated is shown to out-perform the other models.
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- Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
- Martin Neil Baily & Robert J. Gordon, 1988. "The Productivity Slowdown, Measurement Issues, and the Explosion of Computer Power," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 347-432.
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