NBER

Kevin J. Fox

School of Economics
UNSW Sydney
NSW 2052
Australia

E-Mail: K.Fox@unsw.edu.au
Institutional Affiliation: University of New South Wales

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2020Measuring Real Consumption and CPI Bias under Lockdown Conditions
with W. Erwin Diewert: w27144
Millions of goods and services are now unavailable in many countries due to the current coronavirus pandemic, dramatically impacting on the construction of key economic statistics used for informing policy. This situation is unprecedented; hence methods to address it have not previously been developed. Current advice to national statistical offices from the IMF, Eurostat and the UN is shown to result in downward bias in the CPI and upward bias in real consumption. We conclude that the only way to produce a meaningful CPI within the lockdown period is through establishing a continuous consumer expenditure survey.
March 2019GDP-B: Accounting for the Value of New and Free Goods in the Digital Economy
with Erik Brynjolfsson, Avinash Collis, W. Erwin Diewert, Felix Eggers: w25695
The welfare contributions of the digital economy, characterized by the proliferation of new and free goods, are not well-measured in our current national accounts. We derive explicit terms for the welfare contributions of these goods and introduce a new metric, GDP-B which quantifies their benefits, rather than costs. We apply this framework to several empirical examples including Facebook and smartphone cameras and estimate their valuations through incentive compatible choice experiments. For example, including the welfare gains from Facebook would have added between 0.05 and 0.11 percentage points to GDP-B growth per year in the US.

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