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Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?

  • Carol Corrado
  • Wendy Dunn
  • Maria Otoo

We address the construction of price indexes for consumer vehicles using data collected from a national sample of dealerships. The dataset contains highly disaggregate data on actual sales prices and quantities, along with information on customer cash rebates, financing terms, and much more. Using these data, we are able to capture the actual cash and financing incentives taken by consumers, and we demonstrate that their inclusion in measures of consumer vehicle prices is important. We also document other features of retail vehicle markets that interact and overlap with price measurement issues. In particular, we construct vehicle price indexes under different assumptions about what constitutes a "new" product in moving from one model year to the next. For the period that we study (1999 to 2003), a period during which incentives became more widespread and new model introductions rose, our preferred price index drops faster than the CPI for new vehicles.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2006-09.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2006-09
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  1. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  2. Pashigian, B Peter & Bowen, Brian & Gould, Eric, 1995. "Fashion, Styling, and the Within-Season Decline in Automobile Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 281-309, October.
  3. Diewert, W. Erwin, 1998. "High Inflation, Seasonal Commodities, And Annual Index Numbers," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 456-471, December.
  4. George Hall & Adam Copeland & Wendy Dunn, 2005. "Prices, Production, and Inventories Over the Automotive Model Year," 2005 Meeting Papers 346, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1, August.
  6. Diewert, W. Erwin, 1999. "Index Number Approaches To Seasonal Adjustment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 48-68, March.
  7. W. Erwin Diewert, 2003. "Measuring Capital," NBER Working Papers 9526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Diewert, Erwin, 2007. "Index Numbers," Economics working papers diewert-07-01-03-08-17-23, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 31 Jan 2007.
  10. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557.
  11. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  12. Mark Bils, 2004. "Measuring the Growth from Better and Better Goods," NBER Working Papers 10606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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