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Ex Post Versus Ex Ante Measures of the User Cost of Capital

  • Nicholas Oulton

When doing growth accounting, should we use ex post or ex ante measures of user costs to calculate the contribution of capital? 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 equalised across assets. But this is only true if expectations are correct. A numerical example shows that either ex ante or ex post can be closer to the true measure, depending on the parameters. I propose a hybrid method that makes use of elements of both approaches. I test this and the other methods using data for 31 UK industries.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0698.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0698
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  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "Capital stocks, capital services, and depreciation: an integrated framework," Bank of England working papers 192, Bank of England.
  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. 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.
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