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Price Indexes for Deflating Public Forestry Research Expenditures

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The extent to which inflation has eroded the real purchasing power of forestry research budgets is poorly understood. No widely accepted and satisfactory price index exists for assessing the impact of inflation on forestry research. Official government research statistics use the GNP deflator to express research expenditures in constant dollars, despite the serious shortcomings of such a broad indicator of inflation for deflating research expenditures. Two forestry research price indexes are calculated in this paper, one for USDA Forest Service research and the other for university forestry research. The GNP deflator has adequately represented the inflationary trend in Forest Service research, but it has substantially underestimated the rate of inflation in university forestry research in recent years due mainly to real growth in faculty compensation during the 1980s. The divergence between the university forestry research price index calculated in this study and the GNP deflator indicates that the purchasing power of university forestry research is significantly less than estimates based on the GNP deflator would suggest. For. Sci. 35(3):756-774.
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Keywords: GNP deflator; Layspeyres; Price index; USDA Forest Service research; university forestry research

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Economist, Research Work Unit 4803, "Methods for Evaluating the Impacts of Forestry Research," USDA Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, 1992 Folwell Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108

Publication date: 01 September 1989

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