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Quality, Quantity, Spending and Prices

  • Kenneth W Clements

    (UWA Business School, The University of Western Australia)

  • Grace Gao

    (UWA Business School, The University of Western Australia)

One measure of the change in the “quality” of consumption is the degree to which the consumption basket as a whole moves towards more luxurious goods, away from necessities. We introduce two related measures based on the luxury/necessity distinction. One is an index of the extent to which the prices of luxuries change as compared to necessities, while the second indexes the change in spending. These two measures are interpreted as the price of and spending on quality. The “volume” of quality is then spending deflated by its price. Using the recent International Comparison Program data for 100+ countries, we find that on average quality increases with income, but at a slower rate; luxuries are relatively more expensive in richer countries, necessities cheaper; and approximately 80 percent of additional spending on quality flows into a volume component, with the remaining 20 percent accounted for by prices.

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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 11-12.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:11-12
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  1. Muellbauer, John, 1974. "Household Production Theory, Quality, and the "Hedonic Technique."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 977-94, December.
  2. Kenneth W. Clements & H.Y Izan & E Antony Selvanathan, 2005. "Stochastic Index Numbers: A Review," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 05-08, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  3. Finke, Renate, 1983. "A new cross-country tabulation of the quality index of consumption," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 11-14.
  4. Kenneth W Clements & Dongling Chen, 2009. "AFFLUENCE AND FOOD A Simple Way to Infer Incomes," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 09-08, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
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  9. Fry, Jane M. & Fry, Tim R. L. & McLaren, Keith R., 1996. "The stochastic specification of demand share equations: Restricting budget shares to the unit simplex," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 377-385, August.
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  11. James L. Seale & Anita Regmi, 2006. "Modeling International Consumption Patterns," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(4), pages 603-624, December.
  12. Clements, Kenneth W. & Gao, Grace, 2012. "Quality, quantity, spending and prices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1376-1391.
  13. Ernst R. Berndt & Neal J. Rappaport, 2001. "Price and Quality of Desktop and Mobile Personal Computers: A Quarter-Century Historical Overview," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 268-273, May.
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  15. Aaron Nicholas & Ranjan Ray & Rebecca Valenzuela, 2008. "Evaluating The Distributional Implications Of Price Movements: Methodology, Application And Australian Evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers 33/08, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  16. Saeed Heravi & Alan Heston & Mick Silver, 2003. "Using Scanner Data to Estimate Country Price Parities: A Hedonic Regression Approach," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(1), pages 1-21, 03.
  17. Muellbauer, John, 1974. "Prices and Inequality: The United Kingdom Experience," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(333), pages 32-55, March.
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