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Measuring the Growth from Better and Better Goods

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  • Mark Bils

Abstract

Using micro CPI data, I show that much of inflation for durable goods since 1988 reflects, not increases in price for a given set of products, but rather shifts to a newer set of product models that display higher prices. I examine how these price differences should be divided between quality growth and price inflation based on how consumer spending responds to product substitutions. For all goods examined (cars, other vehicles, televisions, and other consumer electronics), buying shifts to the newer models despite their higher prices. This suggests that quality growth for durables has averaged at least 5.8% per year, more than double the rate implied by CPI measurement.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Bils, 2004. "Measuring the Growth from Better and Better Goods," NBER Working Papers 10606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10606
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, July.
    2. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-665, August.
    3. Jean-Charles Rochet & Lars A. Stole, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311.
    4. Steven Berry & Ariel Pakes, 2007. "The Pure Characteristics Demand Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1193-1225, November.
    5. Jack E. Triplett, 1997. "Measuring consumption: the post-1973 slowdown and the research issues," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 9-42.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2005. "Large Devaluations and the Real Exchange Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 742-784, August.
    2. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2006. "The Impact of New Laboratory Procedures and Other Medical Innovations on the Health of Americans, 1990-2003: Evidence from Longitudinal, Disease-Level Data," NBER Working Papers 12120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2010. "Product Creation and Destruction: Evidence and Price Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 691-723, June.
    4. Xian-Liang Tian, 2017. "Estimating sectoral product quality under quality heterogeneity," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(1), pages 137-176, February.
    5. Jeremy Greenwood & Gokce Uysal, 2005. "New Goods and the Transition to a New Economy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 99-134, June.
    6. Frank R. Lichtenberg & Gautier Duflos, 2008. "Pharmaceutical innovation and the longevity of Australians: a first look," NBER Working Papers 14009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Clemens Struck & Adnan Velic, 2017. "Automation, New Technology, and Non-Homothetic Preferences," Trinity Economics Papers tep1217, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    8. Frank Lichtenberg, 2011. "The quality of medical care, behavioral risk factors, and longevity growth," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-34, March.
    9. Oulton, Nicholas, 2007. "Jeremy Greenwood and Per Krusell, "growth accounting with investment-specific technological progress: a discussion of two approaches" a rejoinder," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19710, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Marc P. Giannoni & Jean Boivin, 2005. "DSGE Models in a Data-Rich Environment," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 431, Society for Computational Economics.
    11. Alcalá, Francisco, 2009. "Time, Quality and Growth," UMUFAE Economics Working Papers 4811, DIGITUM. Universidad de Murcia.
    12. Juan Carlos Hallak & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Estimating Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 417-474.
    13. Greenwood, Jeremy & Krusell, Per, 2007. "Growth accounting with investment-specific technological progress: A discussion of two approaches," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1300-1310, May.
    14. Carol Corrado & Wendy E. Dunn & Maria Ward Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Frank Lichtenberg, 2012. "Contribution of Pharmaceutical Innovation to Longevity Growth in Germany and France, 2001–7," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 197-211, March.
    16. Frank Lichtenberg, 2010. "The Contribution of Pharmaceutical Innovation to Longevity Growth in Germany and France," CESifo Working Paper Series 3095, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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