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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 5 No. 1 (February 2013)

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Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of US Productivity Growth

Article Citation

Feenstra, Robert C., Benjamin R. Mandel, Marshall B. Reinsdorf, and Matthew J. Slaughter. 2013. "Effects of Terms of Trade Gains and Tariff Changes on the Measurement of US Productivity Growth." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 5(1): 59-93.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.1.59

Abstract

The acceleration in US productivity growth since 1995 is often attributed to declining prices for information technology (IT ) goods, and therefore enhanced productivity growth in that sector. We investigate an alternative explanation for these IT price movements: gains in the US terms of trade and tariff reductions, especially for IT products, which led to greater gains than shown by official indexes. We do not, however, investigate the indexes used to deflate the domestic absorption components of GDP, and if upward biases are present in those indexes that could offset some of the effects of mismeasured export and import indexes. (JEL C43, E23, F13, F14, J24)

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Authors

Feenstra, Robert C. (U CA, Davis)
Mandel, Benjamin R. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
Reinsdorf, Marshall B. (US Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Slaughter, Matthew J. (Dartmouth College)

JEL Classifications

C43: Index Numbers and Aggregation; Leading indicators
E23: Macroeconomics: Production
F13: Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
F14: Empirical Studies of Trade
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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