NBER Working Papers by Daniel E. Sichel

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Working Papers

April 2015How Fast are Semiconductor Prices Falling?
with David M. Byrne, Stephen D. Oliner: w21074
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for the United States suggests that semiconductor prices have barely been falling in recent years, a dramatic contrast from the rapid declines reported from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. This slowdown in the rate of decline is puzzling in light of evidence that the performance of microprocessor units (MPUs) has continued to improve at a rapid pace. Roughly coincident with the shift to slower price declines in the PPI, Intel — the leading producer of MPUs — substantially changed its pricing behavior for these chips. As a result of this change, we argue that the matched-model methodology used in the PPI for MPUs likely started to be biased in the mid-2000s and that hedonic indexes can provide a more accurate measure of price change since then. Our prefe...
September 2013Time-To-Plan Lags for Commercial Construction Projects
with Jonathan N. Millar, Stephen D. Oliner: w19408
We use a large project-level dataset to estimate the length of the planning period for commercial construction projects in the United States. We find that these time-to-plan lags are long, averaging about 17 months when we aggregate the projects without regard to size and more than 28 months when we weight the projects by their construction cost. The full distribution of time-to-plan lags is very wide, and we relate this variation to the characteristics of the project and its location. In addition, we show that time-to-plan lags lengthened by 3 to 4 months, on average, over our sample period (1999 to 2010). Regulatory factors are associated with the variation in planning lags across locations, and we present anecdotal evidence that links at least some of the lengthening over time to he...

Published: Millar, Jonathan N. & Oliner, Stephen D. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2016. "Time-to-plan lags for commercial construction projects," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 75-89. citation courtesy of

January 2006Intangible Capital and Economic Growth
with Carol A. Corrado, Charles R. Hulten: w11948
Published macroeconomic data traditionally exclude most intangible investment from measured GDP. This situation is beginning to change, but our estimates suggest that as much as $800 billion is still excluded from U.S. published data (as of 2003), and that this leads to the exclusion of more than $3 trillion of business intangible capital stock. To assess the importance of this omission, we add capital to the standard sources-of-growth framework used by the BLS, and find that the inclusion of our list of intangible assets makes a significant difference in the observed patterns of U.S. economic growth. The rate of change of output per worker increases more rapidly when intangibles are counted as capital, and capital deepening becomes the unambiguously dominant source of growth in labor prod...

Published: Corrado, Carol, Charles Hulten and Daniel Sichel. "Intangible Capital and Economic Growth." Review of Income and Wealth September 2009

May 2004How Fast Do Personal Computers Depreciate? Concepts and New Estimates
with Mark E. Doms, Wendy E. Dunn, Stephen D. Oliner: w10521
This paper provides new estimates of depreciation rates for personal computers using an extensive database of prices of used PCs. Our results show that PCs lose roughly half their remaining value, on average, with each additional year of use. We decompose that decline into age-related depreciation and a revaluation effect, where the latter effect is driven by the steep ongoing drop in the constant-quality prices of newly-introduced PCs. Our results are directly applicable for measuring the depreciation of PCs in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) and were incorporated into the December 2003 comprehensive NIPA revision. Regarding tax policy, our estimates suggest that the current tax depreciation schedule for PCs closely tracks the actual loss of value in a zero-inflation envi...

Published: How Fast do Personal Computers Depreciate? Concepts and New Estimates, Mark E. Doms, Wendy F. Dunn, Stephen D. Oliner, Daniel E. Sichel. in Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, Poterba. 2004

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