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Valuation of New Goods Under Perfect and Imperfect Competition

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  • Hausman, J.A.

Abstract

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) attempts to answer the question of how much more (or less) income does a consumer require to be as well off in period 1 as in period 0 given changes in prices, changes in the quality of goods, and the introduction of new goods (or the disappearance of existing goods). In this paper I explain the theory of cost-of-living indices and demonstrate how new goods should be included using the classical theory of Hicks and Rothbarth. The correct price to use for the good in the pre-intro- duction period is a `virtual' price which sets demand to zero. Estimation of this virtual price requires estimation of a demand function which in turn provides the expenditure function which allows exact calucation of the cost of living index. The data requirements and need to specify and estimate a demand function for a new brand among many existing brands requires extensive data and some new econometric methods which may have proven obstacles to the inclusion of new goods in the CPI up to this point. As an example I use the introduction of a new cereal brand by General Mills in 1989-Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. I find the virtual price is about 2 times the actual price of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and that increase in consumer surplus is substantial. Based on some simplifying approximations, I find that CPI may be overstated for cereal by about 25% because of its neglect of the effect of new brands. When I take imperfect competition into account I find that the increase in consumer welfare is only 85% as high with perfect competition so CPI for cereal would still be 20% too high
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Suggested Citation

  • Hausman, J.A., 1994. "Valuation of New Goods Under Perfect and Imperfect Competition," Working papers 94-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:94-21
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716.
    2. Jerry A. Hausman, 1980. "The Effect of Wages, Taxes, and Fixed Costs on Women's Labor Force Participation," NBER Chapters, in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 161-194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Kenneth L. Judd, 1985. "Credible Spatial Preemption," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 153-166, Summer.
    5. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-1130, December.
    6. Jerry Hausman & Gregory Leonard & J. Douglas Zona, 1994. "Competitive Analysis with Differentiated Products," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 34, pages 143-157.
    7. repec:adr:anecst:y:1994:i:34:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Curtis Eaton, B. & Lipsey, Richard G., 1989. "Product differentiation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 723-768, Elsevier.
    9. Hausman, Jerry A & Taylor, William E, 1981. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1377-1398, November.
    10. Glen L. Urban & Gerald M. Katz & Thomas E. Hatch & Alvin J. Silk, 1983. "The ASSESSOR Pre-Test Market Evaluation System," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 13(6), pages 38-59, December.
    11. E. Rothbarth, 1941. "The Measurement of Changes in Real Income under Conditions of Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 100-107.
    12. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
    13. Neary, J. P. & Roberts, K. W. S., 1980. "The theory of household behaviour under rationing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 25-42, January.
    14. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    15. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    16. Trajtenberg, Manuel, 1989. "The Welfare Analysis of Product Innovations, with an Application to Computed Tomography Scanners," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 444-479, April.
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    18. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
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    20. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    competition;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation

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