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Is equipment price deflation a statistical artifact?

  • Bart Hobijn

I argue that equipment price deflation might be overstated because the methods used to measure it rely on the erroneous assumption of perfectly competitive markets. The main intuition behind this argument is that what these price indices might actually capture not a price decrease but the erosion of the market power of existing vintages of machines. To illustrate my argument, I introduce an endogenous growth model in which heterogeneous final goods producers can choose the technology they will use. The various technologies are supplied by monopolistically competing machine suppliers. This market structure implies that the best machines are marketed to the best workers and are sold at the highest markup. In my model economy, the endogenously determined markups are such that standard methods will tend to find equipment price deflation, even though the model does not exhibit any equipment price deflation.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 139.

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Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:139
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  1. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-62, June.
  3. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Sattinger, Michael, 1975. "Comparative Advantage and the Distributions of Earnings and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 455-68, May.
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  13. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
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  16. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Iain M. Cockburn & Aslam H. Anis, 2001. "Hedonic Analysis of Arthritis Drugs," NBER Chapters, in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 439-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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