The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices
American business has recently been under fire, charged with inflated pricing and an inability to compete in the international marketplace. However, the evidence presented in this volume shows that the business community has been unfairly maligned—official measures of inflation and the standard of living have failed to account for progress in the quality of business equipment and consumer goods. Businesses have actually achieved higher productivity at lower prices, and new goods are lighter, faster, more energy efficient, and more reliable than their predecessors.
Robert J. Gordon has written the first full-scale work to treat the extent of quality changes over the entire range of durable goods, from autos to aircraft, computers to compressors, from televisions to tractors. He combines and extends existing methods of measurement, drawing data from industry sources, Consumer Reports, and the venerable Sears catalog.
Beyond his important finding that the American economy is more sound than officially recognized, Gordon provides a wealth of anecdotes tracing the postwar history of technological progress. Bolstering his argument that improved quality must be accurately measured, Gordon notes, for example, that today's mid-range personal computers outperform the multimillion-dollar mainframes of the 1970s. This remarkable book will be essential reading for economists and those in the business community.
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II Studies of Individual Products
III Sources for the Pricing of Numerous Products
IV Weighting Issues and Final Results
Appendix A Producer Price Indexes and Weights for Deflating Producers Durable Equipment in the NIPA 1967 and Earlier Years
Appendix B Tables B1B17 Detailed ProductbyProduct Annual Listing of Alternative and Official Price Indexes 1972 100
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adjacent-year air conditioners aircraft Alternative Price Indexes appliances applied to index automobiles average calculated capacity capital cars catalog index chapter clothes dryers coefficients column compared comparison Computerworld consumer durable cost CR index diesel engines dimensions held constant downdrift Dulberger dummy variables electric electronic energy equipment estimated Fabricated metal fuel economy growth rate hedonic index hedonic price hedonic regression horsepower implicit deflator included industry list prices machinery machines mail-order catalog mainframes major appliances manufacturers measurement microwave ovens NIPA table 5.6 NIPA weight applied OCAM official PDE deflator percent Phister PPI indexes PPI Sears/PPI Weight price change price decline price increase quality adjustments quality change quality characteristics Quality dimensions held rate of price ratio refrigerators relative price revenue sample Sears catalog Sears index Sears PPI Sears/PPI Sears/PPI Weight Models tractors transaction prices Triplett Weight Models 1947
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