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New Goods and Index Numbers: U.S. Import Prices

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  • Robert C. Feenstra

Abstract

Researchers constructing index number frequently face the problem of new (or disappearing) goods, for which the price and quantity are not available in some periods. In theory, the correct way to handle a new good is to treat its price before it appears as equal to the reservation price (i.e., where demand is zero); in practice, this method can be difficult to implement. However, if the underlying aggregator function is CES then the reservation price is infinity, and we show that the corresponding price index takes on a very sensible form. We apply this formula to measure the price index for six disaggregate U.S. imports, which have been supplied from many new countries over the past several decades. We find that by incorporating the new supplying countries, the price index for developing countries is significantly lower than would otherwise be measured.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert C. Feenstra, 1991. "New Goods and Index Numbers: U.S. Import Prices," NBER Working Papers 3610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3610
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean Imbs & Isabelle Mejean, 2015. "Elasticity Optimism," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 43-83, July.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1997. "The Commission Report on the Consumer Price Index (panel discussion)," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 169-173.
    3. Lukas Mohler, 2009. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety: The Case of a Small Open Economy," FIW Working Paper series 031, FIW.
    4. Gómez-Antonioa, Miguel & Fingleton, Bernard, 2009. "Analysing the impact of public capital stock using the NEG wage equation: a panel data approach," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-29, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    5. Osbat, Chiara & Corbo, Vesna, 2013. "Trade adjustment in the European Union - a structural estimation approach," Working Paper Series 1535, European Central Bank.
    6. Osbat, Chiara & Corbo, Vesna, 2012. "Optimism bias? The elasticity puzzle in international economics revisited," Working Paper Series 1482, European Central Bank.
    7. Feenstra, Robert C & Markusen, James R, 1994. "Accounting for Growth with New Inputs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(2), pages 429-447, May.
    8. Olivier Cortès & Sébastien Jean, 1996. "Pays émergents, emploi déficient ?," Working Papers 1996-05, CEPII research center.

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