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Climate Shocks in the Anthropocene Era: Should Net Domestic Product Be Affected by Climate Disasters
The monetary costs of weather and climate disasters in the U.S. have grown rapidly from 1980 to 2022, rising more than 5 percent in real terms annually. Much of this real growth in costs is likely due to climate change. Regardless of its cause, these costs imply a faster depreciation of real assets. We argue that the expected depreciation from these events could be included in the consumption of fixed capital, leading to lower levels, and slightly lower growth rates, for net domestic product (NDP). We use Poisson pseudo-maximum-likelihood regressions to estimate this expectation and to ...
Evidence of Accelerating Mismeasurement of Growth and Inflation in the U.S. in the 21st Century
Corporate equity market values, profitability, and intangible investment have reached high proportions of income. Are these investments and their outcomes evidence of a wellfunctioning society? We do not see the rapid growth in aggregate measures of output that would justify these investments and rewards. And why did the yield curve invert as the U.S. federal funds rate reached 2⅜ percent in early 2019, if the inflation rate was near 2 percent? We present the broad case that mismeasurement of growth and prices accelerated in the U.S. during the 21st century and may be responsible for the ...
What is Measured in National Accounts?
Most statistical agencies construct sectoral real GDP using double deflation and base period prices. When the base period price used for intermediate inputs is not equal to their marginal revenue product, such as when firms apply a markup, real GDP fluctuations become mechanically linked to variations in intermediate inputs. This is because these inputs generate profits that are incorporated into real value added. Taking this channel into account, we demonstrate that real GDP reported in national accounts substantially diverges from a theory-consistent "physical" value added. This, in turn, ...
Expanded GDP for Welfare Measurement in the 21st Century
The information revolution currently underway has changed the economy in ways that are hard to measure using conventional GDP procedures. The information available to consumers has increased dramatically as a result of the Internet and its applications, and new mobile communication devices have greatly increased the speed and reach of its accessibility. An individual now has an unprecedented amount of information on which to base consumption choices, and the “free” nature of the information provided means that the resulting benefits largely bypass GDP and accrue directly to consumers. ...
Is GDP Becoming Obsolete? The 'Beyond GDP' Debate
GDP is a closely watched indicator of the current health of the economy and an important tool of economic policy. It has been called one of the great inventions of the 20th century. It is not, however, a persuasive indicator of individual well-being or economic progress. There have been calls to refocus or replace GDP with a metric that better reflects the welfare dimension. In response, the U.S. agency responsible for the GDP accounts recently launched the GDP and Beyond program. This is by no means an easy undertaking, given the subjective and idiosyncratic nature of much of individual ...