IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/15592.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of U.S. Productivity Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • Benjamin R. Mandel
  • Marshall B. Reinsdorf
  • Matthew J. Slaughter

Abstract

Since 1995, growth in productivity in the United States appears to have accelerated dramatically. In this paper, we argue that part of this apparent speed-up actually represents gains in the terms of trade and tariff reductions, especially for information-technology products. We demonstrate how unmeasured gains in the terms of trade and declines in tariffs can cause conventionally measured growth in real output and productivity to be overstated. Building on the GDP function approach of Diewert and Morrison, we develop methods for measuring these effects. From 1995 through 2006, the average growth rates of our alternative price indexes for U.S. imports are 1.5% per year lower than the growth rate of price indexes calculated using official methods. Thus properly measured terms-of-trade gain can account for close to 0.2 percentage points per year, or about 20%, of the 1995-2006 apparent increase in productivity growth for the U.S. economy. Bias in the price indexes used to deflate domestic output is a question beyond the scope of this paper, but if upward bias were also present in those indexes, this could offset some of the effects of mismeasurement of gains in terms of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert C. Feenstra & Benjamin R. Mandel & Marshall B. Reinsdorf & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2009. "Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of U.S. Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 15592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15592
    Note: ITI
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15592.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-973, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    4. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact of Outsourcing and High-Technology Capital on Wages: Estimates For the United States, 1979–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940.
    5. MartinNeil Baily & Robert Z. Lawrence, 2001. "Do We Have a New E-conomy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 308-312, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Susan HOUSEMAN, 2007. "Outsourcing, offshoring and productivity measurement in United States manufacturing," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 146(1-2), pages 61-80, March.
    8. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2008. "Are Shocks to the Terms of Trade Shocks to Productivity?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 804-819, October.
    9. Kohli, Ulrich, 2004. "Real GDP, real domestic income, and terms-of-trade changes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 83-106, January.
    10. William D. Nordhaus, 2002. "Productivity Growth and the New Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 211-265.
    11. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
    12. Kevin J. Stiroh & Dale W. Jorgenson, 1999. "Information Technology and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 109-115, May.
    13. Oliner, Stephen D. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2003. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 477-503, July.
    14. Paul R. Bergin & Robert C. Feenstra, 2009. "Pass-Through of Exchange Rates and Competition between Floaters and Fixers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(s1), pages 35-70, February.
    15. repec:ags:stataj:119268 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Diewart, W Erwin & Morrison, Catherine J, 1986. "Adjusting Output and Productivity Indexes for Changes in the Terms of Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 659-679, September.
    17. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
    18. Kei-Mu Yi, 2003. "Can Vertical Specialization Explain the Growth of World Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 52-102, February.
    19. William Nordhaus, 2005. "The Sources of the Productivity Rebound and the Manufacturing Employment Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 11354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Edward F. Blackburne III & Mark W. Frank, 2007. "Estimation of nonstationary heterogeneous panels," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(2), pages 197-208, June.
    21. Brian C. Moyer & Marshall B. Reinsdorf & Robert E. Yuskavage, 2006. "Aggregation Issues in Integrating and Accelerating the BEA," NBER Chapters,in: A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts, pages 263-287 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Catherine L. Mann, 2003. "Globalization of IT Services and White Collar Jobs: The Next Wave of Productivity Growth," Policy Briefs PB03-11, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    23. Barbara M. Fraumeni & Michael J. Harper & Susan G. Powers, 2006. "An Integrated BEA/BLS Production Account: A First Step and Theoretical Considerations," NBER Chapters,in: A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts, pages 355-435 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    25. No authors listed, 2001. "New Economy," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 27(1), pages 1-1.
    26. Diewert, Erwin, 2008. "Changes in the Terms of Trade and Canada's Productivity Performance," Economics working papers diewert-08-03-11-11-03-49, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 18 Jul 2008.
    27. Susan Houseman & Christopher Kurz & Paul Lengermann & Benjamin Mandel, 2011. "Offshoring Bias in U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 111-132, Spring.
    28. Dale Jorgenson & J. Steven Landefeld & William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jorg06-1, December.
    29. Varian, Hal R, 1984. "The Nonparametric Approach to Production Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 579-597, May.
    30. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2008. "Are Shocks to the Terms of Trade Shocks to Productivity?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 804-819, October.
    31. W. Erwin Diewert, 2006. "Comment on "Aggregation Issues in Integrating and Accelerating the BEA," NBER Chapters,in: A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts, pages 287-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    32. Feenstra, Robert & Kee, Hiau Looi, 2008. "Export variety and country productivity: Estimating the monopolistic competition model with endogenous productivity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 500-518, March.
    33. Susan Houseman, 2006. "Outsourcing, Offshoring, and Productivity Measurement in Manufacturing," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 06-130, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Trade-Induced Bias in Productivity Measurement
      by Agent Continuum in Agent Continuum on 2010-01-12 20:00:20

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Susan Houseman & Christopher Kurz & Paul Lengermann & Benjamin Mandel, 2011. "Offshoring Bias in U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 111-132, Spring.
    2. David Byrne & Brian K. Kovak & Ryan Michaels, 2013. "Price and Quality Dispersion in an Offshoring Market: Evidence from Semiconductor Production Services," NBER Working Papers 19637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Llosa, Luis-Gonzalo, 2013. "How Do Terms of Trade Affect Productivity? The Role of Monopolistic Output Markets," Working Papers 2013-007, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
    4. Gita Gopinath & Brent Neiman, 2014. "Trade Adjustment and Productivity in Large Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 793-831, March.
    5. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Lee G. Branstetter & C. Fritz Foley & James Harrigan & J. Bradford Jensen & Lori Kletzer & Catherine Mann & Peter K. Schott & Greg C. Wright, 2010. "Report on the State of Available Data for the Study of International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 16254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Idrisov, Georgiy & Ponomarev, Yuriy & Sinelnikov-Murylev, Sergei, 2015. "Terms of trade and economic development of modern Russia," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 3, pages 7-37.
    7. David M. Byrne & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2013. "Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 25, pages 20-36, Spring.
    8. Thomas von Brasch, 2015. "On measuring the contribution from firm turnover to aggregate productivity growth. Selection on profitability and not productivity," Discussion Papers 819, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Ville Kaitila, 2016. "GDP growth in Russia: different capital stock series and the terms of trade," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 129-145, April.
    10. Ariel Burstein & Javier Cravino, 2015. "Measured Aggregate Gains from International Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 181-218, April.
    11. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2010. "Why Have Economic Reforms in Mexico Not Generated Growth?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1005-1027, December.
    12. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Menon, Nidhiya, 2014. "Seasonal effects of water quality: The hidden costs of the Green Revolution to infant and child health in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 49-64.
    13. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:11:p:2328-2353 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Catherine L. Mann, 2012. "Information Technology Intensity, Diffusion, and Job Creation," Working Papers 46, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    15. repec:eee:inecon:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:20-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:rujoec:v:2:y:2016:i:3:p:279-301 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Feng, Ling & Li, Zhiyuan & Swenson, Deborah L., 2017. "Trade policy uncertainty and exports: Evidence from China's WTO accession," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 20-36.
    18. Xiaobing, Huang & Xiaolian, Liu, 2015. "Exporting firm dynamics and productivity growth: Evidence from China," Economics Discussion Papers 2015-64, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    19. Susan N. Houseman & Christopher J. Kurz & Paul Lengermann & Benjamin R. Mandel, 2010. "Offshoring bias in U.S. manufacturing: implications for productivity and value added," International Finance Discussion Papers 1007, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:15592. 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: (). 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.