NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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BEA Deflators for Information and Communications Technology Goods and Services: Historical Analyses and Future Plans

Erich H. Strassner, David Wasshausen


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century, Carol Corrado, Jonathan Haskel, Javier Miranda, and Daniel Sichel, organizers
Conference held March 10–11, 2017
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press
in NBER Book Series Studies in Income and Wealth

The accuracy and integrity of BEA’s featured measures, including inflation-adjusted (i.e. “real”) GDP, consumer spending and business investment, rely on the ability to accurately measure quality adjusted price indexes. It is often the case that high-profile, innovative goods and services that reflect rapidly changing technologies and notable improvements present significant measurement challenges using traditional approaches, especially when required to be produced at high frequencies. With an aim toward facilitating and encouraging further price research, this paper first provides a historical perspective and an analysis of BEA’s ICT prices, including an overview of the sources and methods used to construct BEA’s quality-adjusted prices. In the second part of the paper, we discuss current-work and future plans for continuing to ensure the accuracy of BEA’s price indexes and corresponding inflation-adjusted measures. Appendix A provides an update that assesses recent progress in price measurement as reflected in BEA’s 15th comprehensive update of the NIPAs, released July 27th, 2018.

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