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How fast do personal computers depreciate? concepts and new estimates


  • Mark Doms
  • Wendy E. Dunn
  • Stephen D. Oliner
  • Daniel E. Sichel


This paper examines the prices for communications equipment, an important component of information technology. Unlike prices for computers which officially fall sharply every year, the official prices for communications equipment have barely budged over the past decade. This paper combines earlier work on prices for several segments of communications equipment with new results for public exchanges, fiber optic equipment, and modems. The results suggest that prices for communications equipment fall much faster than official statistics would indicate, but not as fast as computers. The results presented in this paper, if incorporated into the NIPAs, would decrease MFP growth by about 0.1 percentage point per year and increase the contribution of capital deepening by a likewise amount. Also, GDP growth would be boosted marginally."

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Doms & Wendy E. Dunn & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2003. "How fast do personal computers depreciate? concepts and new estimates," Working Paper Series 2003-20, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2003-20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jane G. Gravelle, 1994. "The Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262071584, January.
    2. Jorgenson, Dale W, 1996. "Empirical Studies of Depreciation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 24-42, January.
    3. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1995. "Productivity, Volume 1: Postwar US Economic Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100495, January.
    4. Ernst R. Berndt & Neal J. Rappaport, 2001. "Price and Quality of Desktop and Mobile Personal Computers: A Quarter-Century Historical Overview," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 268-273, May.
    5. Auerbach, Alan J., 1982. "Tax neutrality and the social discount rate : A suggested framework," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 355-372, April.
    6. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mirko Draca & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Productivity and ICT: A Review of the Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0749, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Michael J. Geske & Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2007. "Why Do Computers Depreciate?," NBER Chapters,in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 121-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Albonico, Alice & Kalyvitis, Sarantis & Pappa, Evi, 2014. "Capital maintenance and depreciation over the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 273-286.
    4. Jason G. Cummins, 2005. "A New Approach to the Valuation of Intangible Capital," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 47-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mark C. Doms, 2004. "The boom and bust in information technology investment," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 19-34.
    6. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2012. "Americans Do IT Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 167-201, February.
    7. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2008. "On the optimal timing of capital taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 692-709, May.
    8. Antonopoulos, Christos & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 2009. "The contribution of Information and Communication Technology investments to Greek economic growth: An analytical growth accounting framework," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 171-191, August.
    9. repec:eee:proeco:v:191:y:2017:i:c:p:51-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Andreas Hornstein, 2004. "(Un)balanced growth," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 25-45.
    11. W. Erwin Diewert, 2005. "Issues in the Measurement of Capital Services, Depreciation, Asset Price Changes, and Interest Rates," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 479-556 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence


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