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APPROACHES TO PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT IN HEDONIC ANALYSIS: PRICE INDEXES FOR LAPTOP COMPUTERS IN THE 1990'S

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This paper estimates price indexes for laptop personal computers using hedonic methods and data taken from PC Magazine technical reviews. We use benchmark test results to construct a measure of system performance that encapsulates factors that have previously gone unmeasured, such as the interactions between hardware components. The resulting hedonic function is parsimonious yet has good explanatory power. A second approach to performance measurement is developed using a set of technical proxies that are shown to closely approximate the benchmark test scores, and are thus nearly perfectly equivalent in terms of resulting price index estimates. While not as parsimonious as a single performance measure, these proxies have the advantage of not requiring direct performance testing, and could thus be applied to larger data sets. Laptops were found to have declined in quality-adjusted price at an average rate of 40% per year for the period 1990-1998.
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Keywords: Computer performance; Hedonics; Personal computers; Price indexes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, University of British Columbia, 2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z2

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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