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Do hedonic price indexes change history? The case of electrification

  • Edquist, Harald

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0586.pdf
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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 586.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 16 Feb 2005
Date of revision: 28 Feb 2005
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0586
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  1. Henrekson, Magnus & Edquist, Harald, 2006. "Technological Breakthroughs and Productivity Growth," Working Paper Series 665, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Edquist, Harald, 2005. "The Swedish ICT miracle -- myth or reality?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 275-301, July.
  3. Daniel M. G. Raff & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1996. "Quality-Adjusted Prices for the American Automobile Industry: 1906-1940," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of New Goods, pages 71-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rousseau, Peter L., 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1181-1224 Elsevier.
  6. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  7. Nicholas Crafts, 2004. "Steam as a general purpose technology: A growth accounting perspective," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 338-351, 04.
  8. David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-61, May.
  9. Crafts, Nicholas, 2004. "Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 521-535, June.
  10. Stefano Scarpetta & Andrea Bassanini & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer, 2000. "Economic Growth in the OECD Area: Recent Trends at the Aggregate and Sectoral Level," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 248, OECD Publishing.
  11. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992. "General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?"," NBER Working Papers 4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557.
  13. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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