The Role of the Service Sector in Brazil, Mexico and the USA
Chapter 3: Measurement of Real Service Output
MEASUREMENT OF SERVICE OUTPUT Output is harder to define in services than in the commodity sector as a service is ‘some change is the condition of one economic unit produced by the activity of another unit. Most services consist of material changes in the persons or the property of the consumers’ (Hill, 1999). Services should be distinguished fiom (im)material goods, as only the latter can be stocked. Therefore no ownership rights can be established over a service and ownership cannot be transferred fiom one to another economic unit. In contrast to goods, services cannot be traded independently fi-om their production and consumption. Den Hartog and Bilderbeek (1999) stress that in addition to their intangible characteristics, services also need to be characterised by two other dimensions: the way service suppliers and clients communicate (the interface), for example electronic data interchange; and the service delivery system/organisation,which refers to internal organisational arrangements that need to be managed to allow service workers to carry out their job properly and to develop and offer services. In the context of their multidimensionality, there a four major dificulties to define the basic unit of output in services (Sherwood, 1994). Firstly, the specification of a complex bundle. For many services the transaction unit represents not just one but a bundle of services which are interdependent. It is often difficult to specifi all parts of a bundle and to keep them separate so that price changes of the entire bundle can be matched with changes occurring in...
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