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International and Interarea Comparisons of Income, Output, and Prices

Economists wish to compare prices, real income, and output across countries and regions for many purposes. In the past, such comparisons were made in nominal terms, or by using exchange rates across countries, ignoring differences in price levels and thus distorting the results. Great progress has been made in interspatial comparisons in the past thirty years, but descriptions and discussions of the new measures have been scattered in unpublished or inaccessible papers.

International and Interarea Comparisons of Income, Output, and Prices includes discussions of developments in the United Nations International Comparison Program, the largest effort in this field, and in the ICOP program on the production side, including efforts in both to extend the comparisons to the formerly planned economies. Other papers in this volume explore new programs on interspatial comparisons within the United States. There are also theoretical papers on how interspatial comparisons should be made and several examples of uses of such comparisons.

537 pages | 34 line drawings, 151 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1999

National Bureau of Economic Research Studies in Income and Wealth

Economics and Business: Economics--International and Comparative

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
Introduction—Alan Heston and Robert E. Lipsey
I. Theoretical Bases of Multilateral Interspatial Comparisons
1. Axiomatic and Economic Approaches to International Comparisons
W. Erwin Diewert
Comment: Irwin L. Collier Jr.
2. International Comparisons Using Spanning Trees
Robert J. Hill
II. Interarea Price and Wage Comparisons
3. Interarea Price Comparisons for Heterogeneous Goods and Several Levels of Commodity Aggregation
Mary F. Kokoski, Brent R. Moulton, and Kimberly D. Zieschang
Comment: Paul Pieper
4. Constructing Interarea Compensation Cost Indexes with Data from Multiple Surveys
W. Brooks Pierce, John W. Ruser, and Kimberly D. Zieschang
Comment: Joel Popkin
5. Cities in Brazil: An Interarea Price Comparison
Bettina H. Aten
Comment: Jorge Salazar-Carrillo
III. Informal Reports on Methods and the Geographic Expansion of the International Comparison Program
6. Purchasing Power Parities for Medical Care and Health Expenses
Giuliano Amerini
7. Comparisons for Countries of Central and Eastern Europe
Alfred Franz
8. Multilateral Comparison of the Baltic Countries, 1993
Seppo Varjonen
9. Report on Romania–Republic of Moldova Bilateral Comparison, Benchmark Year 1993
Daniela Elena Stefanescu and Maria Chisinevschi
10. A Critique of CIA Estimates of Soviet Performance from the Gerschenkron Perspective
Yuri Dikhanov
IV. Reports from the International Comparisons of Output and Productivity Program
11. The Measurement of Performance in Distribution, Transport, and Communications: The ICOP Approach Applied to Brazil, Mexico, France, and the United States
Nanno Mulder
Comment: Peter Hooper
12. Prices, Quantities, and Productivity in Industry: A Study of Transition Economies in a Comparative Perspective
Bart van Ark, Erik Monnikhof, and Marcel Timmer
Comment: Irwin L. Collier Jr.
V. Applications of International Comparison Data
13. The Effects of Price Regulation on Productivity in Pharmaceuticals
Patricia M. Danzon and Allison Percy
Comment: Ernst R. Berndt
14. Specialization and Productivity Performance in Low-, Medium-, and High-Tech Manufacturing Industries
Edward N. Wolff
15. Wage Dispersion and Country Price Levels
Robert E. Lipsey and Birgitta Swedenborg
Comment: Andrew Levin
16. The World Distribution of Well-being Dissected
Robert Summers and Alan Heston
Comment: Timothy M. Smeeding
Glossary
Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

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