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Product Creation and Destruction: Evidence and Price Implications

  • Christian Broda
  • David E. Weinstein

This paper describes the extent and cyclicality of product creation and destruction in a large sector of the U.S. economy and quantifies its implications for the measurement of consumer prices. We find four times more entry and exit in product markets than is typically found in labor markets because most product turnover happens within the boundaries of the firm. Net product creation is strongly pro-cyclical, but contrary to the behavior of labor flows, it is primarily driven by creation rather than destruction. High rates of innovation are also accompanied by substantial price volatility of products. These facts suggest that the CPI deviates from a true cost-of-living index in three important dimensions. The quality bias that arises as new goods replace outdated ones causes the CPI to overstate inflation by 0.8 percent per year; the cyclicality of the bias implies that business cycles are more volatile than indicated by official statistics; and finally, sampling error is sufficiently large that over the last 10 years policymakers could not statistically distinguish whether quarterly inflation was accelerating or decelerating 65 percent of the time.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13041.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13041.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13041
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  1. Timothy Dunne & Mark J. Roberts & Larry Samuelson, 1988. "Patterns of Firm Entry and Exit in U.S. Manufacturing Industries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 495-515, Winter.
  2. Marc J. Melitz & Fabio Ghironi & Florin O. Bilbiie, 2007. "Monopoly Power and Endogenous Variety in Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium: Distortions and Remedies," 2007 Meeting Papers 772, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Peter J. Klenow & Oleksiy Kryvtsov, 2008. "State-Dependent or Time-Dependent Pricing: Does it Matter for Recent U.S. Inflation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 863-904.
  4. Gadi Barlevy, 2007. "On the Cyclicality of Research and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1131-1164, September.
  5. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1996. "Mismeasurement in the Consumer Price Index: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 93-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu & Ghironi, Fabio & Melitz, Marc J, 2011. "Endogenous Entry, Product Variety, and Business Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 8564, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Feenstra, Robert C., 2003. "A homothetic utility function for monopolistic competition models, without constant price elasticity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 79-86, January.
  8. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2001. "Quantifying Quality Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1006-1030, September.
  9. Stokey, Nancy L, 1988. "Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-17, August.
  10. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
  11. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2005. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 865-915.
  12. Christian Broda & David W. Weinstein, 2004. "Variety Growth and World Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 139-144, May.
  13. Geroski, P A & Walters, C F, 1995. "Innovative Activity over the Business Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 916-28, July.
  14. Robert C. Feenstra & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2003. "Scanner Data and Price Indexes," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen03-1, March.
  15. Satyajit Chatterjee & Russell W. Cooper, 1993. "Entry and exit, product variety and the business cycle," Working Papers 93-30, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  16. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2008. "Multi-Product Firms and Product Switching," Working Papers 08-24, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Gollop, Frank M & Monahan, James L, 1991. "A Generalized Index of Diversification: Trends in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 318-30, May.
  18. Mark Bils, 2004. "Measuring the Growth from Better and Better Goods," NBER Working Papers 10606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. William D. Nordhaus, 1998. "Quality Change in Price Indexes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 59-68, Winter.
  20. David E. Lebow & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2003. "Measurement Error in the Consumer Price Index: Where Do We Stand?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 159-201, March.
  21. Brent R. Moulton & Karin E. Moses, 1997. "Addressing the Quality Change Issue in the Consumer Price Index," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 305-366.
  22. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "The Growth And Failure Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Papers 1-87-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  23. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
  24. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1996. "On the Timing and Efficiency of Creative Destruction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 805-852.
  25. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
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