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CEP discussion paper

Missing growth from creative destruction


Statistical agencies typically impute inflation for disappearing products based on surviving products, which may result in overstated inflation and understated growth. Using U.S. Census data, we apply two ways of assessing the magnitude of “missing growth” for private nonfarm businesses from 1983–2013. The first approach exploits information on the market share of surviving plants. The second approach applies indirect inference to firm-level data. We find: (i) missing growth from imputation is substantial — at least 0.6 percentage points per year; and (ii) most of the missing growth is due to creative destruction (as opposed to new varieties).


Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Timo Boppart, Peter J. Klenow and Huiyu Li

20 November 2017     Paper Number CEPDP1514

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Growth programme.