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Quality Adjustment for Spatially-Delineated Public Goods: Theory and Application to Cost-of-Living Indices in Los Angeles

  • Banzhaf, H. Spencer


    (Resources for the Future)

This paper illustrates how public goods may be incorporated into a cost-of-living index. When public goods are weak complements to a market good, quality-adjusted prices for the market good capture all the welfare information required. They are also consistent with a Laspeyres index that maintains the bound on a true cost-of-living index. The paper recovers this information from a discrete-choice model, using a simulation routine to solve for the appropriate price adjustments. These concepts are applied to the case of housing, education, crime, and air quality in Los Angeles for 1989 to 1994. Over a period of time when they are improving, incorporating pubic goods into the index lowers the estimated change in the cost of living by 0.5 to 2.6 percentage points. In other years, when public goods diverge, the estimated annual adjustment differs by model, with a range of -0.2 to +1.3 percentage points.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-02-10-.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-02-10-
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  1. Herriges, Joseph A. & Kling, Catherine L., 1999. "Nonlinear Income Effects in Random Utility Models," Staff General Research Papers 1494, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  4. Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2002. "Green Price Indices," Discussion Papers dp-02-09-, Resources For the Future.
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  17. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1996. "Are Medical Prices Declining?," NBER Working Papers 5750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
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