NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Benjamin R. Mandel

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Working Papers

December 2009Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of U.S. Productivity Growth
with Robert C. Feenstra, Benjamin R. Mandel, Marshall B. Reinsdorf, Matthew J. Slaughter: w15592
Since 1995, growth in productivity in the United States appears to have accelerated dramatically. In this paper, we argue that part of this apparent speed-up actually represents gains in the terms of trade and tariff reductions, especially for information-technology products. We demonstrate how unmeasured gains in the terms of trade and declines in tariffs can cause conventionally measured growth in real output and productivity to be overstated. Building on the GDP function approach of Diewert and Morrison, we develop methods for measuring these effects. From 1995 through 2006, the average growth rates of our alternative price indexes for U.S. imports are 1.5% per year lower than the growth rate of price indexes calculated using official methods. Thus properly measured terms-of-trade gain ...

Published: Robert C. Feenstra & Benjamin R. Mandel & Marshall B. Reinsdorf & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2013. "Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of US Productivity Growth," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 59-93, February. citation courtesy of

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