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The Mysterious Cross-Country Dispersion in Mobile Phone Price Trends

David Byrne

No 2019-08-05, FEDS Notes from Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Abstract: Mobile phones have been central to ICT innovation since the introduction of the smartphone and constant-quality prices are a barometer of their economic impact. Official consumer price indices (CPIs) indicate that impact differs wildly across countries: For the 2008-2018 period, average annual rates of mobile phone inflation range from no change to a 25 percent decline among 12 key countries examined in this paper. Although evidence indicates certain fundamental factors are at play, mis-measurement may lead the spread in rates to be overstated. Examination of methods employed in CPI calculation, including quality adjustment and index formulas, illuminates but does not resolve the mystery.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ict, nep-ind and nep-pay
Date: 2019-08-05
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DOI: 10.17016/2380-7172.2413

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