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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.

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: 1989-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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