Open Thread: Hedonics - or "Dedonics" ?

Monday, July 07, 2008 | 07:00 PM

One of the criticisms I've had about the way BLS calculates price inflation is the Hedonic adjustments applied by the Bureau. We'll spend some time in the near future discussing and debating the weaknesses of hedonics.

For those who may be unaware, Hedonics is the technique used (in theory) to separate the difference between inflation and "product improvement."

For tonight's open thread, I want to ask a slightly different question.

What aspects of the modern economy have resulted in product degradation, i.e., increased time consumption for services; on hold for tech support, weaker quality goods, or any other negative factors that are not otherwise incorporated into price?

Call these the "Anti-Hedonics." They are the effects of living in an "Always Low Prices" world that results in a poorer product or service for the same amount of money.

Question: What does the flipside of hedonics -– dedonics? -- look like?

~~~

What say ye?

>

Monday, July 07, 2008 | 07:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (119) | TrackBack (0)
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Food quality. Someone on this very blog described him/herself as a chemist who worked for a food company and said that his/her job was essentially to find ways to replace the more expensive food ingredients with cheaper fillers that tended to contain less nutritional value.

The trend has been with us for a long time. But, it's gone far enough that the very concept of "wholesome food" has become a "luxury" -- it's own niche(!) in the eyes of market regulators. (I.e., the FTC wanted to categorize WFMI and Wild Oats within their own separate "premium" market.)

Posted by: wunsacon | Jul 7, 2008 7:14:25 PM

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