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Measuring Capital

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  • W. Erwin Diewert

Abstract

The paper revisits Harper, Berndt and Wood (1989) and calculates Canadian reproducible capital services aggregates under alternative assumptions about the form of depreciation, the opportunity cost of capital and the treatment of capital gains. Five different models of depreciation are considered: (1) one hoss shay; (2) straight line depreciation; (3) declining balance or geometric depreciation; (4) linearly declining efficiency profiles and (5) linearly increasing maintenance profiles. The latter form of depreciation does not seem to have been considered in the literature before. This model assumes that there is a known time profile of maintenance expenditures that can be associated with each asset and the optimal time of retirement of the asset as well as the profile of used asset prices becomes endogenous under this specification. It turns out if the maintenance profile increases linearly, then the linearly declining efficiency profile model emerges; see (4) above. We consider 3 alternative assumptions about the interest rate and the treatment of capital gains so that we evaluate 15 models in all and compare their differences. Following Hill (2000), we also consider the differences between cross section and time series depreciation and anticipated time series depreciation (which adds anticipated obsolescence of the asset to normal cross section depreciation of the asset). Finally, we follow the suggestion made by Diewert and Lawrence (2000) that a superlative index number formula be used to aggregate up vintages of capital rather than the usual assumption of linear aggregation, which implicitly assumes that the capital services yielded by each vintage of a homogeneous type of capital are perfectly substitutable.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Erwin Diewert, 2003. "Measuring Capital," NBER Working Papers 9526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9526
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jorgenson, Dale W, 1996. "Empirical Studies of Depreciation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 24-42, January.
    2. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    3. Diewert, W E, 1974. "Intertemporal Consumer Theory and the Demand for Durables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(3), pages 497-516, May.
    4. Diewert, W Erwin, 1978. "Superlative Index Numbers and Consistency in Aggregation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 883-900, July.
    5. repec:cup:macdyn:v:3:y:1999:i:1:p:48-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Paul Schreyer, 2001. "The OECD Productivity Manual: A Guide to the Measurement of Industry-Level and Aggregate Productivity," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 2, pages 37-51, Spring.
    7. Hulten, Charles R & Wykoff, Frank C, 1996. "Issues in the Measurement of Economic Depreciation: Introductory Remarks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 10-23, January.
    8. Triplett, Jack E, 1996. "Depreciation in Production Analysis and in Income and Wealth Accounts: Resolution of an Old Debate," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 93-115, January.
    9. W. Erwin Diewert & Kevin J. Fox, 1999. "Can measurement error explain the productivity paradox?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(2), pages 251-280, April.
    10. Oulton, Nicholas, 1995. "Depreciation, Obsolescence and the Role of Capital in Growth Accounting," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 21-33, January.
    11. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    12. W. Erwin Diewert, 1980. "Aggregation Problems in the Measurement of Capital," NBER Chapters,in: The Measurement of Capital, pages 433-538 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kevin Fox & Ulrich Kohli, 1998. "GDP growth, terms-of-trade effects, and total factor productivity," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 87-110.
    14. Usher, Dan (ed.), 1980. "The Measurement of Capital," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226843001.
    15. 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.
    16. Diewert, W E, 1992. "The Measurement of Productivity," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 163-198, July.
    17. Diewert, W. Erwin, 1999. "Index Number Approaches To Seasonal Adjustment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 48-68, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:old:wpaper:351 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrew Sharpe, 2003. "Why are Americans More Productive than Canadians?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 6, pages 19-37, Spring.
    3. repec:zbw:hohpro:351 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Claude Picart, 2004. "Évaluer la rentabilité des sociétés non financières," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 372(1), pages 89-116.
    5. Sang V Nguyen & Mary L Streitwieser, 1997. "Capital-Energy Substitution Revisted: New Evidence From Micro Data," Working Papers 97-4, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Arora, Vipin, 2016. "Aggregate Productivity under an Energy-Based Approach," EconStor Research Reports 126146, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    7. Carol Corrado & Wendy E. Dunn & Maria Ward Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. W. Erwin Diewert, 2009. "Durables and Owner-Occupied Housing in a Consumer Price Index," NBER Chapters,in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 445-500 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:taf:applec:v:48:y:2016:i:53:p:5152-5167 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Barbara Rudolf & Mathias Zurlinden, 2009. "Measuring Capital Stocks and Capital Services in Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(I), pages 61-105, March.
    11. Andersen, Matthew A. & Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G., 2009. "Capital Service Flows: Concepts and Comparisons of Alternative Measures in U.S. Agriculture," Staff Papers 50098, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    12. Jürgen Bitzer & Erkan Gören, 2016. "Measuring capital services by energy use: an empirical comparative study," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(53), pages 5152-5167, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access

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