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Do hedonic price indexes change history? The case of electrification

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  • Edquist, Harald

    () (Dept. of Economic Statistics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

Rapid price decreases for ICT-products in the 1990s have been largely attributed to the introduction of hedonic price indexes. Would hedonic price indexing also have large effects on measured price and productivity during earlier technological breakthroughs? This paper investigates the impact of hedonic and matched model methods on historical data for electric motors in Sweden 1900–35. The results show that during the productivity boom of the 1920s, current prices for electric motors decreased by 13.2 and 12.2 percent per year depending on whether hedonic or matched model price indexes were used. This indicates high productivity growth in the industry producing electric motors in 1920–29. In contrast to Sweden, the US annual total factor productivity growth was only, according to current best estimates, 3.5 percent in Electric machinery compared to 5.3 percent in manufacturing in 1920–29. However, hedonic price indexes were not used to calculate US productivity. Finally, it is shown that the price decreases for electric motors in the 1920s were not on par with the price decreases for ICT-equipment in the 1990s, even if hedonic indexing is used in both cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Edquist, Harald, 2005. "Do hedonic price indexes change history? The case of electrification," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 586, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0586
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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0586.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Edquist, Harald & Henrekson, Magnus, 2004. "Technological Breakthroughs and Productivity Growth," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0562, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 23 Jan 2006.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hedonic price index; Electric motor; Productivity growth; Electrification; ICT revolution; Productivity growth; General Purpose Technologies; Innovation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • N60 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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