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A Reconsideration of Hedonic Price Indices with an Application to PC's


  • Ariel Pakes


This paper provides a justification for hedonic price indices and details the properties of hedonic price functions. The analysis is done in a market setting in which a finite number of goods, each defined by its characteristics, interact. We note that proper hedonic indices can be constructed from the same data currently used to construct matched model indices. Since the matched model index does not incorporate price changes for goods which exit, and the goods that exited tend to be those goods whose prices fall, the matched model index has a selection problem which biases it upwards. The hedonic index does not have this problem. We illustrate with a new study of price indices for PC's. The hedonic index shows steep price declines in every year. On average, the matched model indices indicate no price fall at all and one commonly used matched model index is negatively correlated with the hedonic. We also construct and compare alternative price indices used either in research or by the federal statistical agencies. Of these the one that seems to work well is a Pasche style hedonic. Its advantage is that since it does not require computation of the current period's hedonic function, it is easier to use when monthly timetables need to be met.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel Pakes, 2002. "A Reconsideration of Hedonic Price Indices with an Application to PC's," NBER Working Papers 8715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8715
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aviv Nevo, 2003. "New Products, Quality Changes, and Welfare Measures Computed from Estimated Demand Systems," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 266-275, May.
    2. Epple, Dennis, 1987. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Estimating Demand and Supply Functions for Differentiated Products," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 59-80, February.
    3. Feenstra, Robert C, 1995. "Exact Hedonic Price Indexes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(4), pages 634-653, November.
    4. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
    5. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-694, July.
    6. Hulten, Charles R. & Wykoff, Frank C., 1981. "The estimation of economic depreciation using vintage asset prices : An application of the Box-Cox power transformation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 367-396, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General

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