The role of semiconductor inputs in IT hardware price decline: computers vs. communications
Sharp declines in semiconductor prices are largely responsible for observed declines in computer prices. Although communications equipment also has a large semiconductor content, communications equipment prices do not fall nearly as fast as computer prices. This paper partly resolves the puzzle-first noted by Flamm(1989)-by demonstrating that prices for chips used in communications equipment do not fall nearly as fast as prices for those chips used in computers, and those differences are large enough to potentially explain all of the output price differences.
Getting Smart About Phones : New Price Indexes and the Allocation of Spending Between Devices and Services Plans in Personal Consumption Expenditures
This paper addresses two measurement issues for mobile phones. First, we develop a new mobile phone price index using hedonic quality-adjusted prices for smartphones and a matched-model index for feature phones. Our index falls at an average annual rate of 17 percent during 2010-2018, close to the rate of decline in the price index used in the GDP Accounts. Given relatively flat average prices over this period, our index points to substantial quality improvement. Second, we propose a methodology to disentangle purchases of phones and wireless services when they are bundled together as part of ...
Heterogeneous car buyers: a stylized fact
Using a new dataset, we document a systematic pattern in the demographic characteristics of car buyers over the model year: as vehicle prices fall over the model year, so do buyer incomes. This pattern is consistent with price-insensitive buyers purchasing early in the year, while others wait until prices decline, and suggests price skimming (i.e. intertemporal price discrimination). Such consumer heterogeneity over the model year raises questions for measuring quality improvements in new goods.
Recent changes in U.S. family finances: evidence from the 1998 and 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances
Data from the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances show a striking pattern of growth in family income and net worth between 1998 and 2001. Inflation-adjusted incomes of families rose broadly, although growth was fastest among the group of families whose income was higher than the median. The median value of family net worth grew faster than that of income, but as with income, the growth rates of net worth were fastest for groups above the median. The years between 1998 and 2001 also saw a rise in the proportion of families that own corporate equities either directly or ...
The replacement demand for motor vehicles: evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances
The motor vehicle industry has undergone important changes in recent years, including a shift in production from autos to light trucks and growth of vehicle leasing. This paper uses household-level data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances to document changes in households' acquisitions and financing of motor vehicles from 1989 to 2001. We examine what types of vehicles households had, what financing arrangements were used to acquire them, and how vehicle holdings vary with such household characteristics as income, age, wealth, and creditworthiness. The data provide useful ...
When do matched-model and hedonic techniques yield similar measures?
Hedonic techniques were developed to control for quality differences across goods and over time in order to construct constant-quality aggregate price measures. When the available data are a panel of high-frequency data on models whose characteristics are constant over time, matched-model price indexes can also be used to obtain constant quality price measures. We show this by demonstrating that, given data of this type, certain matched-model indexes yield price measures that are numerically close to those obtained using hedonic techniques. ; * This paper is a condensed version of a paper ...
Shifting trends in semiconductor prices and the pace of technological progress
This paper examines three questions motivated by previous research on semiconductors and productivity growth: Why did semiconductor prices fall so rapidly in the second half of the 1990s, why has the rate of price decline slowed since 2001, and to what extent are these price swings associated with changes in the rate of advance in semiconductor technology? We show that the price swings are statistically significant and that they reflect changes in both price-cost markups and cost trends. Further analysis indicates that the shift to faster cost declines in the mid-1990s likely corresponded to ...
Why are semiconductor prices falling so fast? Industry estimates and implications for productivity measurement
By any measure, price deflators for semiconductors fell at a staggering pace over much of the last decade. These rapid declines are typically attributed to technological innovations that lower constant-quality manufacturing costs. But, given Intel's dominance in the microprocessor market, those price declines may also reflect changes in Intel's profit margins. Disaggregate data on Intel's operations are used to explore these issues. There are three basic findings. First, the industry data show that Intel's markups from its microprocessor segment shrank substantially from 1993-99. Second, ...
Price measures for semiconductor devices
This note provides quality-adjusted price indexes and nominal shipments data for highly disaggregate classes of semiconductor devices. These data may be used to construct indexes under different assumptions from those used in indexes that are currently available. Because the construction of these building blocks require some assumptions, the indexes are compared with similar price measures constructed by Bruce Grimm (1998) and by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.