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Sources of Bias and Solutions to Bias in the Consumer Price Index

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  • Jerry Hausman

Abstract

Four sources of bias in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) have been identified. The most discussed is substitution bias, which creates a second order bias in the CPI. Three other changes besides prices changes create first order effects on a correctly measured cost of living index (COLI). I explain in this paper that a "pure price" based approach of surveying prices to estimate a COLI cannot succeed in solving the 3 problems of first order bias. I discuss economic and econometric approaches to measuring the first order bias effects as well as the availability of scanner data that would permit implementation of the techniques.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533003321164930
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 17 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 23-44

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:1:p:23-44

Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003321164930
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  1. Jerry HAUSMAN & Gregory LEONARD & J. Douglas ZONA, 1994. "Competitive Analysis with Differentiated Products," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 34, pages 159-180.
  2. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  3. Jerry Hausman, 1997. "Cellular Telephone, New Products and the CPI," NBER Working Papers 5982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Katharine G. Abraham & John S. Greenlees & Brent R. Moulton, 1998. "Working to Improve the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 27-36, Winter.
  5. Amil Petrin, 2002. "Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 705-729, August.
  6. Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-76, September.
  7. Pollak, Robert A., 1989. "The Theory of the Cost-of-Living Index," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195058703, September.
  8. Hausman, Jerry A & Leonard, Gregory K, 2002. "The Competitive Effects of a New Product Introduction: A Case Study," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 237-63, September.
  9. W. Erwin Diewert, 1998. "Index Number Issues in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 47-58, Winter.
  10. Silver, Mick & Heravi, Saeed, 2001. "Scanner Data and the Measurement of Inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages F383-404, June.
  11. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
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