IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/1211.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Automobile Prices and Quality: Did the Gasoline Price Increase Change Consumer Tastes in the U.S.?

Author

Listed:
  • Makoto Ohta

Abstract

Did the 1973 and 1979 gasoline price rises change consumer views about the relative quality of different cars? This question is investigated by testing the null hypothesis that imputed characteristic prices have remained constant over time. A hedonic model that takes gasoline costs into account is developed and some of its theoretical implications are outlined.The statistical methods required for its estimation and for the testing of the particular null hypothesis are discussed and then used to analyze the prices of U.S. passenger cars in the used market during 1970-1981. If one does not take gasoline costs into account in such computations one must conclude that consumers changed their relative evaluations of car qualities significantly in both periods: October 1973 to April 1974 and April to October1979. However, when gasoline efficiency terms are included in the model,the estimated relative qualities are much more stable over time, with no period showing significant changes, and it is possible to maintain the "constancy of tastes" assumption. Since the main model adjusts not only for the effect of gasoline price increases but also for the effects of changes in other prices and income, we develop two alternative approaches which adjust solely for the increase in gasoline prices. Applying these to the 1979 period we find that a significant fraction of the coefficient change that did occur during this period can be attributed to the gasoline price increase alone,indicating that this is indeed a major component of what happened.

Suggested Citation

  • Makoto Ohta, 1983. "Automobile Prices and Quality: Did the Gasoline Price Increase Change Consumer Tastes in the U.S.?," NBER Working Papers 1211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1211
    Note: PR
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1211.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Makoto Ohta & Zvi Griliches, 1976. "Automobile Prices Revisited: Extensions of the Hedonic Hypothesis," NBER Chapters,in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 325-398 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daly, George G & Mayor, Thomas H, 1983. "Reason and Rationality during Energy Crises," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 168-181, February.
    3. Muellbauer, John, 1974. "Household Production Theory, Quality, and the "Hedonic Technique."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 977-994, December.
    4. Lucas, Robert E B, 1975. "Hedonic Price Functions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(2), pages 157-178, June.
    5. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, June.
    6. Berndt, Ernst R., 1983. "Quality adjustment in empirical demand analysis," Working papers 1397-83., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Galarraga, Ibon & Ramos, Ana & Lucas, Josu & Labandeira, Xavier, 2014. "The price of energy efficiency in the Spanish car market," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 272-282.
    2. Arawomo, Damilola F. & Osigwe, Augustine C., 2016. "Nexus of fuel consumption, car features and car prices: Evidence from major institutions in Ibadan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1220-1228.
    3. C. Lanier Benkard & Patrick Bajari, 2003. "Hedonic Price Indexes with Unobserved Product Characteristics, and Application to PC's," NBER Working Papers 9980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Leheyda, Nina, 2008. "Private Incentives to Innovate: Interplay of New Products and Brand-Name Reputation," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-120, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Robert C. Feenstra, 1986. "Gains from Trade in Differentiated Products: Japanese Compact Trucks," NBER Working Papers 1978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Benkard, C. Lanier & Bajari, Patrick, 2003. "Hedonic Price Indexes with Unobserved Product Characteristics, and Application to PC's," Research Papers 1841, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Robert Witt, 1997. "The demand for car fuel efficiency: some evidence for the UK," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(9), pages 1249-1254.
    8. Hyberg, Bengt & Uri, Noel D. & Oliveira, Valencia, 1996. "The quality characteristics of Japanese soybean imports," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 81-98, March.
    9. Chiraz Karamti & Lukasz Grzybowski, 2010. "Hedonic study on mobile telephony market in France: pricing–quality strategies," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 255-289, October.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1211. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.