NBER Working Papers by Marshall B. Reinsdorf

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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, 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 ...
June 2008Price and Real Output Measures for the Education Function of Government: Exploratory Estimates for Primary & Secondary Education
with Barbara M. Fraumeni, Brooks B. Robinson, Matthew P. Williams: w14099
In a previous paper, the authors took the first step in their research on measuring the education function of government by estimating real output measures (Fraumeni, et. al. 2004). In this paper, chain-type Fisher quantity indexes for those output measures are calculated to be more consistent with Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) methodology and the real output measures presented in the previous paper are refined. In addition, and more importantly, implicit price deflators are presented to give a more complete picture. Alternative price and real output measures are compared; it is clear that methodology choice matters. Price change is always greater than quantity change for the periods given; however, price changes are overstated to the extent quality changes are not captured in the quan...
January 2005Aggregation Issues in Integrating and Accelerating BEA's Accounts: Improved Methods for Calculating GDP by Industry
with Brian Moyer, Robert Yuskavage: w11073
Aggregate measures of real GDP growth obtained from the GDP by Industry Accounts often differ from the featured measure of real GDP growth obtained from the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs). We find that differences in source data account for most of the difference in aggregate real output growth rates; very little is due to the treatment of the statistical discrepancy, differences in aggregation methods, or the contributions formula. Moreover, we demonstrate that with consistent data, use of BEA's Fisher-Ideal aggregation procedures to aggregate value added over industries yields the same estimate of real GDP as aggregation over final commodities. Thus, two major approaches to measuring real GDP -- "expenditures" approach used in the NIPAs and the "production" or "industry" ...
January 2004Should Exact Index Numbers Have Standard Errors? Theory and Application to Asian Growth
with Robert C. Feenstra: w10197
In this paper we derive the standard error of a price index when both prices and tastes or technology are treated as stochastic. Changing tastes or technology are a reason for the weights in the price index to be treated as stochastic, which can interact with the stochastic prices themselves. We derive results for the constant elasticity of substitution expenditure function (with Sato-Vartia price index), and also the translog function (with T””rnqvist price index), which proves to be more general and easier to implement. In our application to Asian growth, we construct standard errors on the total factor productivity (TFP) estimates of Hsieh (2002) for Singapore. We find that TFP growth is insignificantly different from zero in any year, but cumulative TFP over fifteen years is indeed pos...

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