The mysterious cross-country dispersion in mobile phone price trends
Mobile phones have been central to ICT innovation since the introduction of the smartphone and constant-quality prices are a barometer of their economic impact. Official consumer price indices (CPIs) indicate that impact differs wildly across countries: for the 2008–18 period, average annual rates of mobile phone inflation range from no change to a 25 per cent decline among 12 key countries examined in this paper. Although evidence indicates certain fundamental factors are at play, mis-measurement may lead the spread in rates to be overstated. Examination of methods employed in CPI calculation, including quality adjustment and index formulas, illuminates but does not resolve the mystery.