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International Economic Transactions

Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research

How the government arrives at its official economic statistics deeply influences the lives of every American. Social Security payments and even some wages are linked to import prices through official inflation rates; special measures of national product are necessary for valid comparisons of vital social indicators such as relative standards of living and relative poverty. Poor information can result in poor policies. And yet, federal statistics agencies have been crippled by serious budget cuts—and more cuts may lie ahead.

Questioning the quality of current data and analytical procedures, this ambitious volume proposes innovative research designs and methods for data enhancement, and offers new data on trade prices and service transactions for future studies. Leading researchers address the measurement of international trade flows and prices, including the debate over measurement of computer prices and national productivity; compare international levels of manufacturing output; and assess the extent to which the United States has fallen into debt to the rest of the world.

507 pages | 30 figures, 120 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1991

National Bureau of Economic Research Studies in Income and Wealth

Economics and Business: Economics--International and Comparative

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
Introduction by Peter Hooper and J. David Richardson
I. Merchandise Trade
1. Comparing International Trade Data and Product and National Characteristics Data for the Analysis of Trade Models
Keith E. Maskus
Comment: Edward E. Leamer
2. Computers and the Trade Deficit: The Case of the Falling Prices
Ellen E. Meade
Comment: Richard D. Haas
3. Quality Issues Affecting the Compilation of the U.S. Merchandise Trade Statistics
Bruce C. Walter
Comment: David J. Klock
II. Trade Prices and Price Competitiveness
4. Price Trends in U.S. Trade: New Data, New Insights
William Alterman
Comment: Richard C. Marston
5. Measures of Prices and Price Competitiveness in International Trade in Manufactured Goods
Robert E. Lipsey, Linda Molinari, and Irving B. Kravis
Comment: Catherine L. Mann
III. Service Transactions
6. Developing a Data System for International Sales of Services: Progress, Problems, and Prospects
Bernard Ascher and Obie G. Whichard
Comment: Samuel Pizer
7. Evolving Patterns of Trade and Investment in Services
Bernard M. Hoekman and Robert M. Stern
Comment: Samuel Pizer
IV. Foreign Direct Investment
8. Financial Flows versus Capital Spending: Alternative Measures of U.S.-Canadian Investment and Trade in the Analysis of Taxes
Harry Grubert and John Mutti
Comment: Edward M. Graham
9. The Adequacy of U.S. Direct Investment Data
Lois E. Stekler and Guy V. G. Stevens
Comment: Betty L. Barker
V. International Comparisons of Outputs and Inputs
10. Issues in Measurement and International Comparison of Output Growth in Manufacturing
Robert Z. Lawrence
Comment: Lawrence Mishel
Comment: Barry Eichengreen
11. Macroeconomic Convergence: International Transmission of Growth and Technical Progress
John F. Helliwell and Alan Chung
12. The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems
Irving B. Kravis and Robert E. Lipsey
Comment: Alan V. Deardorff
Concluding Observations
Robert E. Baldwin
Jack Bame
Ralph C. Bryant
Author Index
Subject Index

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